CORNELL — Geraldine “Gerry” Marie (Keefer) Sweitzer, 85, passed away in Cornell Thursday, March 14, 2019, a short distance from where she was born. Gerry worked hard all her life and battled a challenging fight the last few years.
Gerry met the love of her life, Phillip “Buck” Sweitzer at First Ward Elementary. She loved to tell the story of Buck asking her for a date, how thrilled she was. Gerry graduated from CHI HI, where she was a proud Prom Queen. Buck and Gerry both enjoyed telling the story of how they eloped July 22, 1954, surprising family and friends.
Buck and Gerry lived out in Rhode Island, while Buck was in the Navy. Gerry worked out East, and was accepted into the FBI before they moved back to Chippewa Falls. She continued to work in her married life. She took a short break when she became the very proud mother of Brad Anthony Sweitzer I. Gerry and Brad had a very special bond her entire life. Gerry enjoyed teasing, practical jokes, and “pea cut wars” with Brad. She would practically do anything Brad wanted her to do.
Family was very important to Gerry. She cared for in laws, and her own mother lived with the family. Gerry and Buck had a special relationship with all of their combined brothers and sisters. Buck’s sister Dolores, her husband Peter and their family were particularly close, spending many vacations across the U.S. and weekends together. With the sudden passing of Peter, Buck and Gerry kept very close to Dolores and her kids. Buck and Gerry were godparents to many of their nephews’ children.
Among the jobs that Gerry held in her life included working at Chip Tronics and later at Cray Research. She was one of the supervisors on several supercomputer projects.
When Gerry retired in 1996, it was her turn to be surprised with the arrival of her first grandson. She dearly loved all her grandchildren, spending time with them especially when they were very young. They loved to go out to eat and playing card games with her. She taught them Chinese checkers and other games. She was so proud of their school accomplishments and loved to cheer them on in the sports they played. She often gave them a “Grandma Handshake” that contained a surprise of cash.
Gerry is survived by her husband of 64 years, Buck Sweitzer; her son, Brad and his wife Lori; her grandchildren, Nevada, Beau, and Gabrielle will miss their Grandma Gerry very much. She is further survived by her sisters-in-law, Dolores Dietzler, Colleen Schmidt and their children; and many nephews and nieces.
She is preceded in death by her mother and father, Margaret and Franklin Keefer; twin brother, Gerald; sisters, Audrey Hakes and husband, John, Donna Mae Hakes and her husband, Russell; in-laws, Edwin and Josephine Sweitzer; brothers-in-law, Peter Dietzler and Dale Schmidt; sisters-in-law, Juanita Smith and husband, Clint and Alma “Bubbles” and husband, Cecil.
A funeral service will be held at noon Wednesday, March 20, at Zion United Methodist Church, Chippewa Falls, with the Rev. Don Drollinger officiating. Interment will be in the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner.
Visitation will be one hour prior to the service Wednesday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.
Pederson-Volker Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services, Chippewa Falls, is serving the family.
Please share your memories and condolences online at pedersonvolker.com.