Funeral Mass was held for Geraldine Askew, age 100 of Wadena, on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 11 a.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Wadena with Fr. Aaron Kuhn officiating. Music was provided by Lisa Winter and Steven Fah. Pallbearers were all of Geraldine’s grandchildren. Honorary Pallbearers were all of Geraldine’s great-grandchildren. Geraldine was laid to rest at Wadena City Cemetery, Wadena.
Geraldine Cecelia Stuntebeck Askew was born December 25, 1920, in Wadena, and died June 13, 2021, in Menahga.
She attended St. Ann’s elementary school and Wadena Public School, graduating in 1938. Geri went to Fargo Business College, where she learned bookkeeping, secretarial skills, and the Palmer Method style of writing. A prolific letter writer until the end, Geri’s “flourish writing” was a hallmark of correspondence you could not wait to open. She never missed a birthday, the opportunity to thank someone or to offer advice. Geri worked at the Stuntebeck Ford garage, and then in 1942, she went to the Twin Cities and worked for BF Goodrich Tire Company.
On Nov. 12, 1943, she married Gordy Askew at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. When Gordy was deployed by the US Military, Geri returned to the Twin Cities and worked at Young Quinlin as a secretary to the buyer. In 1944, she joined Gordy in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and worked for a flight surgeon at the airbase.
She was born the year women won the right to vote. A life-long DFLer and member of 1000 Women for Humphrey in the 1960’s, Geri made sure to vote in every election – local or national – and voted for every democrat from FDR to Joe Biden.
Geri’s volunteer contributions were many and varied. As a member of St. Ann’s parish, she started the school library, taught CCD, read at mass, and served on the school board. She was in the Christian Women’s organization and raised money for the American Heart and Lung Association. She helped with activities at the nursing home, served as a Girl Scout leader, and helped create the cross-country skiing club. Geri was an active member of the Garden Club and the Square-Dancing group, the Wadena Whirl-a-ways. Her entrepreneurial side shone through her World Book and Aloe Vera sales.
She loved her hometown of Wadena where she and Gordy spent nearly 70 years in the same home at 514 2nd St. SE and summers at Big Pine Lake. Geri was a strong and vocal supporter of her family, and throughout her life, got great joy attending the many school events of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Geri was preceded in death by her husband, Gordy of almost 74 years, her parents, Rich and Cecelia Stuntebeck, granddaughter Desiree Kraemer Askew, two brothers Gerald and Kenny, and her sister Pat.
She is survived by her sister Sharon, five children, Steve (Carol), Janet (Mike), Susie (Dennis), Rita and Teresa (Ann), 11 grandchildren Jennifer, Jessica (David), Christopher (Tiffany), Erika (Ty), Abby, Hillary (Chris), Dan (Erin), Luke, Alex (Kellen), Annie (Craig), Hannah. Fifteen great grandchildren: Aaron, Jack, Russell, Ariel, Liam, Pavan, Leighton, Asher, Molly, Daniel, Liliana, Grady, Edith, Keira and Eve and dozens of cousins, nieces and nephews who loved her like crazy.
The family is grateful to the many wonderful PCAs from Lake Country Home Care and staff of Knute Nelson Home Care and to the great staff and caregivers at Greenwood Connections, Menahga.
Thanks to family and lake friends who got her on the pontoon at Big Pine Lake in summer 2020 on a beautiful July day. Geri loved flowers, wild and tame, the night sky, and loved to float in the lake and go in the hot tub. She was a great cook and passed on many recipes, especially her home-made noodles and chicken soup.
The Christmas twin has left her family and the world a better place because of her passions and zest for life.
Mom – we know you are dancing with Dad again!!