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.