Van Assche, Geraldine

Written by David Green.

Geraldine May Van Assche, 85, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., and formerly of Fayette, Ohio, died July 22, 2011, at her house surrounded by her loving family.

She was born May 14, 1926, in Fayette to the late Tom and Nettie (Freiss) Merillat. She married T. James Van Assche on Oct. 28, 1942, and they celebrated 68 years of life together before he preceded her in death Feb. 21, 2011.

Gerri grew up on a farm near Fayette and assumed many responsibilities in the family upon the passing of her young mother when Gerri was 13. The family later moved to Dearborn, Mich., her father seeking employment with Ford Motor Company, and it was there that Gerri met the love of her life, Jim, and began raising her own family.

In 1974, Jim and Gerri moved back to rural Fayette, where they made their home until May 2009. She was a stoic and faith-filled person who was skilled in painting on various materials, and enjoyed gardening, sewing, crocheting and knitting. She was an avid volunteer at the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Bryan, Ohio, and the St. Vincent DePaul Society in Fayette. She was active at her home parishes of St. Sebastian Church in Dearborn, and Our Lady of Mercy Church in Fayette.

Geraldine is survived by her seven children, Betty (and Frank) DeMilde of Dearborn Heights, T. James (and Kathy) Van Assche, Jr., of Romulus, Mich., Robert (and Barbara) Van Assche of Dearborn Heights, Judith Collins of Dearborn Heights, Donald (and Sandy) Van Assche of Dearborn Heights, Geraldine (and Brad) Rupp of Quincy, Mich., and Paula (and Glennis) Ferguson of Fayette; five sisters, Arlene Eczar, Beverly (and Peter) Gentelia of White Lake Twp., Mich., Micki Stachurski of Canton, Mich., Arlene (and Don) Ruffatto of Maui, Hawaii, and Carol (and Paul) Stockburger of Fayette; 36 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren.

Besides her parents and her husband, she was preceded in death by her brother, Tom Merillat, and a son-in-law, Michael Collins.

A Mass of Christian Burial is planned at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, at St. Sebastian Church in Dearborn, with Father Aaron DePeyster as celebrant. Interment will follow a 1:45 p.m. graveside service at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield. Visitation is scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Hackett-Metcalf Funeral Home in Dearborn, with a Rosary at 7 p.m.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016