Obituary of Gerda Lorraine Sweitzer
On a cool summer day in June, 2020, Gerda Lorraine Sweitzer, 88, passed away peacefully at her local care home. Gerda was born on February 15, 1932, during the Great Depression. She was one of eight children born to Peter and Ellen (Koski) Johnson. The family lived on a dairy farm in Chatham, Michigan, where all of the kids worked hard and have fond memories of their childhood. Gerda spoke about these days often. She was closest to her sister, Joyce, and they had many fun adventures together while living in Clawson and Troy, Michigan. It was also known that Gerda was very smart, and was even named the Valedictorian of her class.
On September 4, 1953, Gerda married Robert John Sweitzer and they had four children together: Julie, Larry, Susan and Erika. After Bob passed away in 1973, Gerda moved to Montana where she lived in a log cabin she had built in Libby. She loved working in her yard, and it was beautiful.
Gerda’s faith was very important to her. She had been through many trials in her life that led her to be a very strong Christian woman for many years. She raised her four children on her own. She was always concerned that her children and grandchildren were doing well and that they knew God personally. Gerda often quoted from her Bible and knew it well.
She was also a traveler. Gerda and Bob traveled to Spain as well as the Bahamas. She enjoyed road trips, and drove across the country several times, stopping to see the sights. Though she didn’t need to be the center of attention, Gerda loved the company of others. She had many relatives and friends and was happy just sitting around the table visiting or going out to dinner. However, she was always up for an adventure or two.
Gerda was known for knitting beautiful afghans, hats, socks, mittens, dishcloths and sweaters. She also loved playing cards (Skip-Bo and Pinochle) and she enjoyed reading, gardening, cooking, and holidays. She was fond of being in nature; she found joy in flowers and hummingbirds. Gerda especially loved God and her family.
Gerda is preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Ellen Johnson; husband, Bob; son, Larry; brothers, Harold, Alden, Robert, Howard, William, and Kenneth Johnson; sisters, Charlotte Contois, Eleanor Maki, and Alida Jean Coble.
She is survived by her sister, Joyce Dube; two sisters-in-law Mary Davio, Marge Schoen; children: Julie (Wayne) Edwards, Susan (Dennis) Helkenn, and Erika (David) Jones; daughter-in-law, Patty Sweitzer; grandchildren: Jaimie (Hunter) Merriman, Gini Edwards, Kristi Brooks, Nicholas (Krystal) Sichting, Brandon (Telina) Sichting, Melissa Sichting, Chelsea Ramirez, Blake Jones, and Madison Jones; 13 great grandchildren; one great, great grandchild; and several nieces and nephews.
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