Geraldine B. Nilsestuen|
Geraldine B. Nilsestuen died peacefully at Rockynol Retirement Community, Akron, Ohio, on August 14, 2014, at 100 years old.
Gerry was born at home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 24, 1914, to Oscar P. and Mabel Anderson. After her father's untimely death in 1920, Gerry, her younger brother Roger and Mabel moved to a family-owned rooming house in Southeast Minneapolis. She attended school within walking distance of their home for all twelve grades. She set a standard for herself by being active in the YWCA Inter-Club Council, even attending the national convention in Colorado Springs. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and an accomplished pianist. Gerry graduated from high school in 1932.
From there Geraldine attended the University of Minnesota, again walking to school, where she majored in social work. She was president of the YWCA and a member of the Mortar Board Honor Society, where the friends she made lasted a lifetime. She graduated from university in 1936, the first in her family to achieve this goal.
Her first job took her to Neenah, Wis., where she was associate director of the YWCA, returning to Minneapolis in 1938. She then worked for the state guardianship department for seven years, eventually becoming chairman of the department.
In 1941 she met her husband, John Shevlin Nilsestuen, while taking out the trash they lived across the alley from one another in south Minneapolis. They were engaged in 1942 but delayed marriage because of World War II, finally tying the knot on January 19, 1945.
Shevlin's wartime service took the two of them to Arizona and New Mexico for about a year, where Gerry continued her career as a USO employee. They returned to Minneapolis after Shevlin's military discharge in January 1946, where Gerry again worked at the USO, eventually closing the Minneapolis branch.
In 1947 Gerry and Shevlin bought a newly built home in St. Louis Park, Minn, where they lived for forty years, the last of the original homeowners on their block to move away. They joined Westwood Lutheran Church in 1948, where she remained a member for many years. She also expanded her volunteer career, serving on the Westwood church council, screening pre-school children for hearing and vision, working for the Republican Party to seek candidates for office, and serving actively in the St. Louis Park Women's Club, including as president.
She and Shevlin had two children, and Gerry devoted much of her time to them. She was an excellent homemaker and mother, and proud of the results.
She was also an avid amateur golfer, forced to give up the game at age 78, and a walker, which she continued until just a few weeks before her death. She and Shevlin were excellent bridge players, which she continued to play well into her 90s.
About four years ago Gerry was forced to give up her independent lifestyle, so she chose to move from Minneapolis to Akron. She easily adapted to life at Rockynol, where she made many new friends.
Gerry was preceded in death by her mother (1981); husband, (1988) and her brother, Roger (2001). She is survived by her son, Kenneth Nilsestuen and daughter-in-law Patricia, Akron, Ohio; her daughter, Ann Torp-Pedersen and son-in-law Kim, Seattle, Wash.; grandson, Joseph Nilsestuen, Venice, Calif.; granddaughter, Rebecca Nilsestuen, St. Paul, MN.; granddaughter, Anne (Dave) Anderson, Columbus, Ohio; and granddaughter, Emily (Eric) Schroeder, Dacula, Ga.; She is also survived by four great grandchildren, a niece and two nephews.
At her request, there will be no visitation or services. Gerry will be interred next to her husband at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis where the family will have a small graveside service later this year.
If you wish, please make a donation to the
in Gerry's memory. Visit http://www.dunn-quigley.com/ to share memories and condolences in Gerry's Book of Memories.
Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Aug. 17, 2014