Maureen Gerdes, 87, of Miller, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, died peacefully Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Miller Good Samaritan Center after a long, full and fun-filled life.
Funeral Mass will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday, November 16, 2017 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Miller with Father Paul Josten, celebrant. Burial will follow at St. Ann’s Cemetery, Miller. Visitation will begin at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 15, 2017 followed by a 7:00 p.m. rosary and prayer service, all at the church.
The sixth of seven children, Maureen Ann Wherry was born March 22, 1930 to Melvin and Mary (Rudd) Wherry at their home in rural Hand County. She grew up on a farm in the middle of the Depression and rode a horse or sleigh to rural schools, depending on the weather. She attended Orient High School one year and graduated in 1948 from Faulkton High School. She was a secretary for Faulkton attorney L.A. Melby until 1950 when she began work at what was then known as Black Hills General Hospital until 1951.
Maureen met Delmar Gerdes at a dance in Orient. They married November 8, 1950 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Orient, SD. They lived in California while Delmar served in the Army from 1951-1953 after which they returned to South Dakota. Maureen was a homemaker and mother to three children while living in Wecota, Timber Lake and Miller, SD. They spent 57 happy years together until Delmar’s death on August 13, 2008.
Maureen worked as a secretary for Miller attorney James I. Hare from 1966-1970. She served as deputy Hand County treasurer for Marvin Wilson from 1970-1972. She was an optometrist’s assistant to Dr. S. B. Wilkinson from 1973-1984. She also served as a census taker in the 1980 US Census. From 1984 until her retirement in 1988, she served as Hand County energy assistance officer for the SD Department of Social Services.
She supported all her children’s activities, including acting as a Den Mother for Cub Scouts and being active in Music Parents. Maureen spent many lonely years working for the Democratic Party in Hand County and served St. Ann Catholic Church as a CCD teacher and Altar Society member and officer. In 1970 she was honored as a Pioneer Daughter by the parish. She held many offices in the American Legion Post #38 Auxiliary, including president. She loved her faith, being Irish, playing cards, baking and her grandchildren (not necessarily in that order).
She will live on in the hearts of her children, Connie (Dr. Steve) Schroeder of Miller; Terri (Scott) Bettin of Minneapolis, MN; Dan (Nan) of Rapid City; nine grandchildren, Paul Schroeder, Erica (Eric) Ramsey, Tom Schroeder, Meredith Schroeder, Benjamin Bettin, Genevieve Bettin, Nathaniel Bettin, Caitlin Gerdes and Spencer Gerdes; one great-grandson, Will Ramsey; a sister, Donna Roth, Miller; a brother, Dennis Wherry, Abilene, Texas; a sister-in-law, Mavis Wherry, Santee, CA; and a brother-in-law, Delbert Christensen, Denver, CO; along with a host of nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Delmar; three brothers: Bernard, Werner, and Celius Wherry; a sister, Eileen Christensen; several brothers and sisters-in-law.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Maureen’s arrangements.