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Obituary for Theresa Gerkman


Theresa Gerkman, beloved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 22, 2023, at 96 years old. She leaves behind family members who will cherish her memory forever. Theresa was preceded in death by her loving husband of 55 years, Frank Gerkman. She is survived by her three sons and their families: Frank (Mary) Gerkman of Hemet, CA, Ernest Gerkman of Portland, MI, and Andy (Michele) Gerkman of South Lyon, MI. Theresa was a proud grandmother of 5 and great grandmother of 3. Theresa was also preceded in death by her parents and 10 siblings. She is survived by her sister Helena Romsak of Kamnik, Slovenia. She is also survived by loving nieces and nephews in Slovenia, Argentina, and Michigan.


Theresa enjoyed plants and vegetable gardening--a green thumb of sorts. She just liked taking care of things and seeing them respond. She was an adamant defender of animals (except snakes!) She loved causes that protected animals as she understood they needed advocates. With her own furry companions, she would put their needs ahead of hers.


Theresa loved to read. As an immigrant to the United States in the 1950's, TV was not only entertainment but also an educational medium which helped her gain language and other skills. She acquired magazines and books to teach herself to read. She worked for years in surgery prep at Mt. Carmel Mercy Hospital in Detroit. Early on, Theresa was noticed for aptitude by the Mother Superior in charge and offered an opportunity to study in their nursing program. Unfortunately, she turned it down due to family issues.

In 1998, the Portland, MI area became home for her and husband. As a lifelong practicing Catholic and a deeply moral person, Theresa was pleased with her new church and friends she made. She loved the parish, going to Adoration and participating in prayer group. She was extremely thankful to those volunteers bringing Communion to her when her health diminished, to those in the community who gave of themselves by taking her to church, and to others for their fine gestures over the years. She felt loved by her community.


She never forgot her roots in Slovenia. Her remaining sister, Helena, along with extended family were spoken of often and fondly, with the wish that they could be nearer.


And finally, when additional help was needed, Theresa was fortunate to move to an adult foster care home where she received loving and tender care from staff. She got along well with the other residents and they were known to go into song together on occasion. She continued to receive visits and Communion from the church and regular visits from family.


A Mass of Christian burial will be held Fri. July 7, 2023, 2;00 P.M. at St. Patrick, Catholic Church, Portland, MI. Father Mike Alber, Pastor, will be celebrating the Mass. Burial of Ashes will follow with Father Alber leading the service at Danby Twp. cemetery.

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