Margaret Celestine (Richardson) Gerarden
Margaret “Sally” Gerarden, 91, of Appleton, WI, passed away peacefully on Monday, June 7, 2021, at home with loved ones. Earth lost a saint, but heaven gained an angel. Sally was an inspiration to all who knew her with her strong faith, infectious smile, and gentle spirit.
Sally was born November 25, 1929, to Margaret and Benjamin (McGlynn) Richardson in La Crosse, WI. Sally was raised in St. Michael’s Home for Children in La Crosse. Sisters Mary Fabian and Mary Roderic, and Fr. Fred Mann tenderly guided her during her formative years. She cherished her time with them. She was later fostered by Francis and Laura Mahan on their farm in Rising Sun, WI and enjoyed her special animal friends. She graduated from Aquinas High School.
Sally met the love of her life, Louis “Lou” Gerarden, at an American Legion dance. They were married on June 12, 1954 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in La Crosse. They shared 66 wonderful years together, raised twelve children, and settled in Appleton, and later moved to Mackville, WI. Sally was actively involved at St. Edward’s parish, St. Joe’s Food Pantry, and in the community. Later in life, Sally and Lou joined Sacred Heart parish where she volunteered for several committees including visiting the sick.
Sally began working at AAL (Thrivent) in the early 1980’s. She worked as an assistant cook at Monte Alverno Retreat Center in Appleton from 1994-2005. She had an incredible work ethic that surpassed all and her co-workers and guests all became friends. Everyone loved Sally!
In 1989, she and her sister-in-law, Florence Heinritz went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorie, Yugoslavia. She returned with a deep conversion that changed her life. She began to write poetry to inspire all and draw them closer to God. Following her dream, Sally was professed on May 18, 1994 as a Secular Franciscan, joining the St. Frances Xavier Fraternity. She later became a member of the St. Joseph’s Fraternity. She was devoted to her faith and gathered all of us children in the living room to say the rosary together in the evenings. Sally and Lou said the rosary daily for most of their lives.
Sally was the most selfless person and lived a rich, joyful life. She lived life by faith and no fear. She was the best role model for her children and lived life by example. She was the epitome of the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” She was outgoing and adventurous. She embraced technology and all sports; she coached softball for many years and she broke her arm playing soccer with her son. She loved writing poems and songs; one of her poems was published in the Library of Congress and she wrote a book for her children about her life.
Sally is survived by her twelve children: Mary (Mike) Garvey, Rose (Tom) Ahrens, Dan Gerarden, Tom (Bobbie) Gerarden, Tony (Dorothy) Gerarden, Ann Kelly, Dave (Sarah) Gerarden, James Gerarden, Barb (Laurie) Gerarden, Shelly (Eugene) Klister, Jeff Gerarden, Mike (Nichole) Gerarden, and Terri (Keith) Smith, and over 30 grandchildren and great grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, husband Lou, and brothers: Francis, Cletus, John, Joe, and Adrian Richardson; sisters: Cleone (Hasken) Richardson, Calista (Joseph) Richardson, Celesta Richardson, Veronica Richardson, Theresa (Teeple) Richardson, Mary (Olah) Richardson, and Catherine (Crouch) Richardson; great granddaughter, Georgia Frewerd, and other relatives and friends.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to all the medical providers, hospice team, and wonderful Home Instead caregivers especially Shana Schafer, for their tender loving care.
Brettschneider Trettin-Nickel Funeral Home is coordinating the celebration of life to be held at Sacred Heart, 222 E. Fremont St. Appleton on Saturday, June 12, 2021, with rosary at 8:45am, visitation from 9:00–10:30am, and service from 10:30-11:30am. Fr John Katamba will be officiating assisted by Deacon Gib Schmidt. In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established.
To watch the Mass live, click on the link below at 10:30 am on Saturday.
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