Berniece Evelyn Gerdes, 100, of Burlington, died at 11:05 AM Thursday, March 19, 2020, at the Great River Klein Center in West Burlington.
Born February 18, 1920, in Burlington, IA, she was the daughter of Henry and Lillian Lohmann Fromm. On June 5, 1943, she married Robert K Gerdes in Burlington. He died on May 21, 2003.
She graduated from Burlington High School in 1938 and Iowa State (College) University in 1942 with a degree in Home Economics.
She taught Home Ec., Health, Girls, P.E. and Music for 2 1/2 years at West Burlington Junior High School.
She married Robert Gerdes in Burlington at her parents' home on June 5, 1943. Bob received a furlough from his military duty so they could marry but was called back early so their honeymoon was postponed until the summer of 1944. That summer Bob's unit was sent for training in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Berniece was able to moved to Wyoming to spend their summer together. Berniece returned to Burlington to teach until their son was born that following April. He was 8 months old when Bob returned home from WWII in December of 1945. The following years blessed them with four other children. Bob and Berniece lived in Burlington until moving their family to Danville in 1953. Berniece was a substitute teacher for many years in the Danville Community School District and helped her husband in the family owned businesses, Danville True Value and Lumber and the Danville Laundromat.
Berniece loved volunteering at her church including Sunday School Teacher, Girls Guild Leader, and Children's Choir Director. She was a charter member of the Danville Library Board and enjoyed volunteering at the Library for many years. She was also a member of Faith Baptist Church, a member of P.E.O. Chapter EV, a member of 10 Club, and a member of the Danville Garden Club. She enjoyed being with her grandchildren and watching them in all of their activities. She enjoyed traveling, crocheting and quilting. In later years she enjoyed meeting her new great-grandchildren and her Klein (Apple Trees) family.
Survivors include three sons, Jim (Judy) Gerdes of Fort Madison, Bob (Vicki) Gerdes of Burlington, Tom (Jeanie) Gerdes of Danville; one daughter, Janet (Bob) Hesler of Danville; twelve grandchildren, Jeff Gerdes, Jennifer Cohrt, Sarah Vanway, John Gerdes, Julie Starbuck, Micki Boelens, Eric Gerdes, Kim Sherwood, Jennie Adkins, Rob DeSpain, Sean Hesler, and Chris Hesler; twenty five great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by an infant daughter Karen; her husband Robert; parents; sister, Mildred Schlue; and brother, Gordon Fromm.
Due to the growing health concerns of COVID-19 a private family graveside service will be held on Monday with Pastor Ed Bunt officiating.
Memorials have been established for the Great River Hospice House and the Danville Library.
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