Geraldine (Gerry) Hemel, 87, of Ferndale, Washington passed away unexpectedly in Gilbert, Arizona on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. Gerry was born in Elyria, Ohio on December 6, 1929.  She was the youngest of four children, Henry Jr the oldest brother and sisters Evelyn and Rosemary. As a child she spent many summers at Lake Erie swimming, picnicking and playing baseball and volleyball. She graduated from Elyria High School in June of 1947 where she took business classes. After graduation she was given a suitcase and $50.00 from her parents as a graduation gift and was able to travel with her Aunt and Uncle to California where she stayed in the San Diego area for a few weeks before returning to Ohio.  Gerry worked as an order and billing clerk at I.T.S. Company and then as billing and payroll clerk at Elyria Truck and Implement Company.

In the fall of 1952 Gerry met the love of her life, John and they were married on November 7, 1953 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Elyria Ohio. One year later their oldest daughter Debra Marie was born and 2 years later Terri Joann came along.  In August of 1958 they moved to Bellflower California.  Their youngest daughter Karen Jeann was born on Halloween of 1966.  Gerry worked for Sona Foods and Leroy Enterprises for 25 years doing secretarial work.  As a retirement gift she and John were given a 10 day trip to London and Paris which they both thoroughly enjoyed.  She briefly went back to work as an office manager in January of 1987 for the Fish Company restaurant in Los Alamitos California. She eventually retired for good in 1989 and her and John moved to Ferndale Washington to enjoy a quiet life in a small town.

Gerry enjoyed spending her time doing volunteer work for St. Joseph’s Church. She was the treasurer on St. Jude’s Guild, worked with the Outreach program, was a Eucharistic minister and worked part time in the office.  She was an avid reader and a member of the Ferndale Senior Center.  Gerry’s family and friends were her passion and delight.  She loved going out to breakfast, lunch and dinner with them and of course an occasional trip to the casino.  Over the years she was also able to take many wonderful trips to visit family and friends in Ohio, California and Arizona and in August of 2015 she was especially delighted to travel to Arizona to meet her first Great Grandchild, Emery Grace Benjamin.

Gerry was preceded in death by her husband, John, Parents Henry Sr. and Lucile Smith, Brother Henry Jr, Sisters Evelyn Hyer, Rosemary Dunn, and daughter Debra Marie. She is survived by her loving daughters Terri Beatty (Lee) of Castaic, California and Karen Benjamin (Mike) of Queen Creek, Arizona, Grandchildren, Greg, Andrew, Briana, Jonathan, Michael (Wife Talor), Braylee, and Great Granddaughter Emery Grace Benjamin.  She also leaves behind numerous loving relatives and friends.

There will be a Memorial Mass on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at St Joseph’s Catholic Church 5781 Hendrickson Avenue, Ferndale, Washington with Father Tim Sauer officiating.

A luncheon will immediately follow in the church hall.

Memorial donations may be made in Gerry’s name to the American Heart Association.

Please visit www.heart.org and click donate.