At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
St. Jude Children's Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Linda Gerow, it is easy to see that there was no greater joy in her life than the moments she shared with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was warm, inviting, and kind, the sort of person who accepted others with ease. Although Linda treasured her roles as a wife and mother, she just might have argued that nothing was better than being a grandmother and great-grandmother later in life. Always thoughtful of others, she was always looking for ways she could care for others in ways both great and small. Deeply loved, Linda will be forever missed.
The 1950s were an exciting time in American history. With the end of WWII we were in the midst of the baby boom, which gave way to the new housing boom and an economy that had finally recovered from the trials of the Great Depression. It was as the year 1950 was drawing to a close that Clayton and Twilah (Huss) Stevens were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby. Their wait was finally over when the baby girl they named Linda Gail drew her first breath in LaGrange, Indiana. Her earliest years were spent in LaGrange where the biggest happening was the county fair. Later in life her children often gave her a hard time saying that the fair was really “corn school.” Linda’s father was an electrical contractor while her mother ran the office. Later on, she moved to Portage where they lived on West Lake, and Linda enjoyed water skiing. As a student Linda attended local schools and graduated from Portage Central in 1969.
New and exciting changes were in store for Linda when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Kim Gerow, and he was two years younger. Their first date was a motorcycle ride, and that date led to more dates. The couple soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Linda and Kim were married on September 17, 1971, in a lovely church wedding at Portage First Baptist Church. While her husband was in the military, they lived in Kentucky and Oklahoma before he was sent overseas for a year. During their time apart, their love only grew deeper. Together they welcomed two children including Jeff in 1973 and Mandy in 1977 into their hearts and home. Linda was a nurturing and supportive mother who was there for all her children’s events and activities. Later in life she was thrilled to reconnect with her firstborn Sarah. She enjoyed several trips to Missouri to visit Sarah and the grandkids. She savored spending whatever time she could with all of her grandchildren. In addition to caring for her own children, Linda had a daycare in her home for many years.
As her family and friends can attest, Linda had an open-door policy, and there was almost always an extra kid from the neighborhood over. She was a great cook, but she didn’t run a restaurant so the kids ate what they got. Among the family favorites was her lasagna, boiled cabbage dinners, baked spaghetti, pepper steak, and on occasion she made her favorite - prime rib. Linda also made party mix, which was her signature dish for Christmas. Since everyone loved it there never seemed to be enough to go around. Later on, she was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother, a role she cherished as she made memories spending as much time as she could with her grandchildren.
One of Linda’s greatest gifts was her hospitality. The holidays were always special times, and she went over and above on Christmas. Memorial Day was always a big day for the family as they would have a big cookout where Jeff would smoke briskets and Linda made sure there were at least 2 big pans of baked beans. The party grew over the years until it became commonplace to have between 40 and 60 people at the event. Linda truly loved hosting as it was so rewarding to see how much fun others were having. Cookouts with family and friends were always her favorite times.
Throughout her life Linda was a bustle of activity. She loved traveling, but in the days before GPS it was certainly an adventure as they never quite knew where they would end up since she just couldn’t master the art of reading a map! Linda and her husband traveled a bit as they went to places like Florida, the Bahamas, and on various cruises. She enjoyed crafts and loved decorating wood cutouts and bricks. Linda had a huge garden and also liked canning much of what she grew. She even taught her grandchildren how to work in the garden. After all their hard work, she usually rewarded her grandchildren with a trip to the Chinese restaurant for the buffet. Linda enjoyed reading, usually biographies, but she was willing to read just about anything. When relaxing with the television she liked watching the Big Bang Theory and Little House on the Prairie. She loved all things Shirley Temple, and she had an extensive collection of Shirley Temple dolls and movies. Linda was a bargain shopper who never missed a sale.
Later in life Linda’s nurturing spirit continued to shine. When her husband had a stroke in 2012, she helped him through his struggles as he recovered. Just a year later Linda started to have her own struggles including heart issues and then both lung cancer and leukemia. Linda always vowed to work as hard as was necessary in order to recover, but it was frustrating since battling her health issues limited her normal activities and also took time away from her family. As the one who needed to be cared for during recovery, Linda was so gracious and appreciative of all the care she received.
All who knew Linda Gerow would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was so thoughtful, gracious, and genuine with a selfless spirit in everything she did. Linda had a good sense of humor and usually embarrassed quickly, which made her so much fun to be around. She taught some important lessons by the way she lived such as the need to work for things rather than waiting for a handout and to not shy away from accomplishing your greatest potential. Truly devoted to her family, she was the best wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother anyone could ever ask for. Linda will never be forgotten.
Linda Gail Gerow died peacefully on Saturday February 16, 2019, at Rose Arbor Hospice. Surviving are her husband, Kim; children: Sarah Gasper, Jeff (Deanna) Gerow, and Mandy (Ryan) White; grandchildren: Cory, Derek, Bailey, Clayton, Brennan, Savannah, Irelyn, Lindsay, Chelsea, Brooke; and 5 great-grandchildren; father-in-law: Raymond Gerow; and many nieces and nephews. Linda was preceded in death by her parents. Visit with family and friends on Wednesday from 5-8 at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday. Burial will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Linda’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can read her story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.