Geraldine Gerken, 97, Baraboo

January 18, 2019

Geraldine Ruth (nee Brost) Gerken, 97, of Baraboo, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Our House Assisted Living, surrounded by her loved ones. Geri was born Sept. 30, 1921, in Green Bay, to Lambert and Anna Brost. The family moved to Babcock, shortly afterward, where she spent her childhood. At 17, she married Leonard William Carl Haferman and they had five children. They divorced in 1960, and on Sept. 5, 1962, she married Howard Wilbur Gerken of Elroy. They were married for 49 years, until Howard’s death on Nov. 30, 2011.

For many years, Geri worked as a waitress for several different supper clubs, and later as a hostess for The Goal Post in Middleton. She loved doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, playing cards (especially Smear), looking through magazines, listening to music, going out for lunch or dinner, dancing and traveling. She was a great cook, and loved hosting wonderful dinners with family and friends. She made the best soup ever. She took great pleasure in social gatherings with family and friends. She was a huge inspiration to all who loved her. When she battled breast cancer at 82, had a double mastectomy, and endured radiation and chemotherapy, she never complained, and was so brave throughout that journey. We were so proud of her, and she remained cancer free for the rest of her life.

Geri was preceded in death by her parents, Lambert and Anna Brost; brothers, Leland, Allen and Arnold; and a sister, Florence Heller; her son, Leonard Allen Haferman; and a granddaughter, Melissa Haferman.

She is survived by her sisters, Madeline Stensberg and Laverne Denis; brother, William (Gail) Brost; daughters, Nancy (James) Higgins, Linda (Richard) Jenks and Candace (Roger) Gruman; and son, Timothy Haferman; her stepdaughter, Dawn Gerken; grandchildren, Mark Larson, Kris (Gerry) Rich, Scott (Renee) Larson, David (Milena) Larson, Laura Carpenter, Misty Steffen, Pamela (Aaron) Fuchs, Steven Higgins, Jeff (Nanette) Higgins, Cody Haferman and William (Anllelina) Haferman; 18 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren; and her best friend for more than 55 years, Florence Huebing.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in her honor may be sent to Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1120 Draper St., Baraboo, WI 53913, or to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 10611 Highway 13 South, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494.

A celebration of life and memorial service will be held at a later date in summer 2019 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids. The Redlin Funeral Home is assisting the family.

We would like to thank Our House staff for their loving, tender care during her stay there. They were wonderful to her, and she was happy there.

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