On December 23, 2019, Geraldine Helen Wilson joined her father, mother, sisters and brothers in heaven. Her loving husband of 70 years and her family surrounded her during her passing.
Geri was a strong woman of faith and attended Faith Family Christian Center in Longview, Washington. Always faithful in her prayers and reading of her Bible even on the day of her passing.
Geraldine (Geri) Helen (Bergerson) Wilson was born on July 12, 1932 on the family homestead in Biddle, Montana. She was the second youngest of five children. Born to Bror and Carrie Bergerson, she grew up riding horses and eating her mom’s legendary cinnamon rolls. In sixth grade, Keith Wilson stuck her pigtails into the ink well on his desk to get her attention. Once Keith tasted those fabulous cinnamon rolls, Geri knew she had competition to gain his attention back.
Keith and Geri eloped on August 13, 1949. Geri would say, “They told us that it would not last, guess they didn’t know what they were talking about.” Keith and Geri celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this summer with friends and family.
They started their life together in Miles City, Montana. There they had three children, Rosalie, Patrick and Clarence. Later they moved to Bozeman, Montana where Geri supported Keith as he completed his college education to become a teacher. Their youngest daughter Martie was born during their college years. In 1967, Geri decided that she had enough of Montana winters and filled out an application for Keith to teach in Clatskanie, Oregon. Keith came home one day to find a representative from 5J School District waiting on the steps to interview him. Geri would not let Mr. Jones in the house as she didn’t know who he was at the time. Keith did not know Geri had applied for him.
The family moved to Clatskanie, Oregon and found what became their home for 51 years. Geri loved what the family farm offered her. She cherished taking care of her family, gardening, planting flowers, especially Dalias and having tea in her beloved tea cups with family and friends. Geri was an amazing woman as her kids knew no boundaries and brought almost every animal that resided on the farm into the house. Sheep, cows, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, peacocks, cats, and dogs roamed the hallway of the house, with Geri cleaning behind them. The farm was labeled “Wilson’s Funny Farm” based on the antics of The Wilson’s.
Geri spent eighteen years as one of the key people running payroll for Crown Zellerbach. She retired in 1986. Keith and Geri always had a love for travel and adventure. They traveled together across the United States, Canada, Peru, Costa Rica and Bolivia. After retirement they became snowbirds and resided in Ajo, Arizona in the winter for the last 28 years. Keith loved the beauty that rocks had in the ground, Geri loved the beauty they brought to the jewelry Keith made for her. They became lifelong members of the Southwest Washington Mineralogical Society. Through the years, Rock Club became a tradition in the family with Rock Club weekend a family outing for all of the generations.
With the birth of her eldest granddaughter, Geri transitioned to Grandma DeeDee. The role she once said was the most wonderful role of her life. Many of the subsequent grandchildren had to ask her legal name as they only knew her as Grandma DeeDee. She loved babies and had a rock that put babies to sleep when no one else could. It was nicknamed the Grandma DeeDee rock.
Geraldine is survived by her husband Keith Wilson of Clatskanie, Oregon; four children, Rosalie (Wilson) and Dwain Zimmerman of Mesa, Arizona, Patrick and Betsy Wilson of Redmond, Washington, Clarence and Carolyn Wilson of Longview, Washington, and Martie (Wilson) and John Moore of Chicago, Ilinois. She was blessed with nine grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; one, soon to be two great-great grandchildren.
A celebration of her life will be May 16, 2020 when the flowers on the farm are blooming.