CROSSLAKE — Geraldine A. “Geri” Sawatzke, age 87, longtime resident of Crosslake, Minn., went home to be with the Lord on Aug. 24, 2012. Geri was born on Aug. 2, 1925, in Minneapolis, the daughter of Matt and Betty Kempenich. She attended grades 1-8 at a one-room school house in Crosslake and graduated salutatorian at age 16 from Pequot Lakes High School class of 1942. She furthered her education at the Cincinnati School of Business where she was trained as a stenographer and began her secretarial career at the Lakeland Fruit & Produce Co. and later working for the Minneapolis Iron Store and the Grain Exchange. Soon thereafter, she met the love of her life, Larry, on a hayride in Delano, Minn., and they were married on May 1, 1948, in Pine River, Minn. To this marital union, four children were born. Geri spent many years as a homemaker before resuming her career as an administrative assistant, first for Robbinsdale and then the Mound-Westonka School District until her retirement in 1988. Soon thereafter, Geri returned to Crosslake where she and Larry built their retirement home on Daggett Lake. Geri was a member of the Immaculate Heart Catholic Church and was well known in the community, volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce and the historical society. She loved morning walks, golfing, swimming, cooking, pontoon rides and was an accomplished bridge player. She was a devoted wife and mother who loved her family dearly. Her husband Larry of 58 years; parents, Matt and Betty Kempenich; sister, Bonnie McGill; and brother, Doug Kempenich, preceded her in death. Geri is mourned in passing and greatly missed by her daughter, Lynn (Jim) Frederick, of Weyauwega, Wis.; her three sons, John (Ginny) Sawatzke, of Denver, Paul (Laurie) Sawatzke, of Elk River, Minn., Tom (Lynette) Sawatzke, of Billings, Mont.; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and by her sister, Joyce (Erv) Schwinghamer, of Canberra, Australia.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, Aug. 30 at noon at Immaculate Heart Church in Crosslake. Friends may gather one hour prior at the church at 11 a.m. for visitation, sharing memories and to celebrate her life. Private interment will be at Pinewood Cemetery.