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.

  • 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
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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