Geraldine "Gerry" (Wouters) Rademacher, 98, of DePere, formerly of Ashwaubenon, passed away on May 23, 2021, at her home where she had lived for nearly five decades.
Born in Green Bay on Nov. 28, 1922, Gerry was the youngest of Hilda (Runnoe) and Francis (Frank) Wouters' five children.
Gerry and her late husband, Roland (Rod) Rademacher, were married in 1949 at St. Joseph's Church in Green Bay. The couple raised seven children and lived briefly in Manitowoc before moving to Ashwaubenon, a short distance south of the current site of Lambeau Field.
Before raising her family, Gerry made the most of her own opportunities growing up. Named for opera singer and film actress Geraldine Farrar, Gerry took on roles in school plays, which helped her overcome her shyness.
She graduated from West High School with high honors in 1940. She was editor of the school newspaper, and her dance card was filled with extracurricular activities. A dedicated high school teacher urged her parents to find a way to send her to college. It led to her attending the University of Chicago and graduating from there in 1946.
After college, Gerry worked for Fort Howard Paper Company's president. She temporarily stopped working to raise a family but never stopped finding interesting things to do.
She delved deeply into her family tree and could rattle off names of relatives- near and distant- with ease. Gerry could be described as a walking version of ancestry.com.
She maintained friendships with equal gusto. In middle school, she began writing to a pen pal in France. The relationship continued for decades and the two "girls" met for the first time in Paris when they were both in their 50s. Later on, she and a childhood pal from second grade, and both in their 80s, ventured on a cruise along the Pacific coast.
At home, she fostered a love of music in her children. Classical music brought her pleasure, and was regularly played on the family stereo. As empty nesters, Gerry and Rod were frequent travelers to wherever their children were living at the time or they took their own vacations to places such as Mexico or the Netherlands.
Gerry and her husband were charter members of Nativity of Our Lord Parish, and she served as the first director of the parish's religious education program, now called the Faith Formation Department, a position she held for many years.
As a widow, she and her group of female friends made it a point to regularly meet for lunch or play cards or discuss the most recent Packer game. In her 90s, she organized a reunion for her high school classmates at Three Three Five restaurant on Broadway in Green Bay in a building originally owned by her grandfather, Jacob, and where multiple Wouters families had lived.
In addition to her husband, Gerry was preceded in death by her son James Rademacher, and her siblings Les Wouters, Marion Briquelet, Margaret Vannieuwenhoven and Dorothy VanGrinsven.
She is survived by her daughters Lynn Sygiel (Carl), Indianapolis; Karen Martin (John), Ithaca, N.Y; Joan Alesi (Larry), Cornelius, N.C; and Ellen Rademacher (Tom Henderson), Kirkland, Wash.; sons Wayne Rademacher (Rhonda), Minneapolis; and Ken Rademacher (Francesca), Long Beach, Calif.; grandchildren Alexander Alesi, John Martin, Madison Caselli (Bryan), Nick Rademacher, Harrison Rademacher and Willem Henderson.
Memorial contributions may be made to Nativity of Our Lord, in care of the church's Faith Formation Department, 2270 S. Oneida St., Green Bay, WI 54304.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.