Geraldine “Gerri” Vechart, age 90, of Brillion, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at Brillion West Haven.
Gerri was born on December 7, 1929 in Oshkosh, daughter of the late Roman and Anna (Steinfort) Gruse. She attended and graduated from both St. Mary’s Catholic School in Oshkosh in 1944 and Oshkosh High School, class of 1947. She went on to further her studies as a pediatric nurse, taking courses through St. Vincent Orphanage in Chicago. She was employed with the orphanage and as a private nurse in Chicago before moving back to Oshkosh. Gerri then worked at St. Agnes Hospital and for Dr. Cunningham’s office. She met Donald “Donny” Vechart on a blind date, and before long, the couple was married on February 3, 1951 at Fort Campbell in Kentucky while Donny was serving our country. He preceded her in death Sept. 22, 1998. Together, Don and Gerri managed Jack Vechart’s, “The Club” on Main Street in Brillion for a number of years. While she stayed at home and raised their family, she volunteered at St. Mary’s School in Brillion, while their children attended. She also canned and baked for the family, enjoyed dancing with Donny in their younger years, would read when she had time, and always liked to do puzzles and word searches along with watching classic movies and TV shows.
A big bowl of peanut M&Ms could always be found at Gerri’s house which was her signature gift to give at Christmas. In their later years together, she and Donny would travel, and at 64 years of age, Gerri first received her driver’s license to continue to be able to take care of her family. The traveling continued after Donny passed away, where she even parasailed in Mexico and went on a pilgrimage to Rome to see St. Peter’s and Pope Benedict XVI. Gerri especially loved getting her family together for Christmases, birthdays, and other special events. Her 90th birthday was made extra special when the family gathered in the house on Main Street where she and Donny raised their family.
She is survived by her children and their spouses: Terri (Joe) Bourassa of Appleton, Mark of Brillion, Mary Artz of Brillion, Tina (Duey) Unbehaun of Oshkosh, Paul (Georgiana) of Brillion, Peter (Judy) of Brillion, Andrew (Brenda) of Menomonee Falls, Matthew (Vicky) of Appleton, Ann (Brian) Noeldner of Suamico, Joe (Jenny) of Green Bay, and David (Delia) of Farmington, MN; grandchildren: Sam (Angela), Luke (fiancée Rachel), Peter (Katie), Andrea (Mat), Elizabeth (Shane), Jeremy (Andrea), Amanda, Ben (Kate), Emily (Dan), Hillary (Nic), Jamey (fiancée Beth), Kayla (Josh), Jackson, Andrew (Katie), Daniel (Aimee), Lindsey, Adam (Olivia), Joshua (Katie), Molly (Jon), Mason (Jennie), Alex (Carly), Emma, Anna, Brianna (Adam), Gabby (fiancée Joe), Julia, Marissa, Olivia, Mitchell, and Dane; 35 great-grandchildren; one sister: Nellie Carrick of Oshkosh; one sister-in-law: Bonnie Vechart of Brillion; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents; father-in-law and mother-in-law: John and Anna (Krizenesky) Vechart; one baby boy, Luke, one son-in-law: Ray Artz, siblings and in-laws: Marie Gruse, Helen (Byron) Evans, William “Bud” (Hazel) Gruse, Ray (Hilda) Gruse, Agnes (Bill) Gruber, Dolores (Les) Kellar, Frank (Dona) Gruse, Arvid “Bud” Carrick, infant twin brothers: William and Jack, Helen (Ruben) Engel, Vernon (Armella) Vechart, John (Doris) Vechart, Roger Vechart, and other relatives.
The family would like to pay special thanks to Theda Clark Hospital Stroke Center staff, Brillion West Haven Assisted Living staff, and Heartland Home Health Care/ Heartland Hospice Care staff along with Father Tom and Pielhop Wieting Funeral Homes. Staff members were really taken with Gerri and the most common word used when referring to her was sweet. Her nick name to one staff member was “Sweet Pea”. The support these staffs provided Gerri and her family during this difficult time was incredible and brought the family so much comfort.
Due to the current Covid conditions, a private Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brillion.
Online condolences may be made at www.pielhopwieting.com
In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated for a fund to be established in Gerri’s name.
Pielhop Wieting Funeral Homes of Brillion & Reedsville are assisting the family.
Let the eagles soar and the deer leap with delight. Let the people hold a ceremonial dance and celebrate the goodness that your presence has brought to this earth. May God bless you and keep you and hold you close. We love you Mom.