Martha Helen Gerard, age 101, of Buffalo, formerly of French Lake and Cokato, went to be with her Lord, Jesus, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016.
She was born March 21, 1915, in rural Cokato, the second of 14 children born to Jacob and Eriika (Ammala) Kotila. Martha was baptized and confirmed in the faith at the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church in rural Cokato, and as an adult she was an active and dedicated member of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in French Lake.
Martha lived in French Lake most of her life. She worked as a supervisor for Munsingwear in Minneapolis.
For the past four years, Martha has resided at Lake Ridge Manor in Buffalo.
She was widowed twice, and was preceded in death by an infant son, Dennis Gordon Gerard in 1945; her husband, Glen Gordon Gerard in 1982; her second husband, Arthur J. Johnson in 2000; her sisters and spouses, Linda (Wayne) Harmala, Aune (Virgil) Matsen, Lillian (Harold) Matsen, Elsie Kotila, and William Kivisto; and her brothers and spouses, Eino Kotila, Alvin (Hazel) Kotila, Wayne (DeLores) Kotila, Milton Kotila, Reino Kotila, Wesley (Rosalie) Kotila, Roy (Darlene) Kotila, and Donald Kotila; as well as by her Gerard and Johnson sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.
Martha was quite surprised to have lived to be 101, and enjoyed the commotion of having six great-grandchildren to amuse her. Her quiet and calm presence, sisu, and her strong faith in Jesus as her Saviour will be sadly missed by her family and friends.
She is survived by her step-children, Philip (Elizabeth) Johnson of Eugene, OR, and Carol (Stanley) Vander Kooi of Buffalo; her grandchildren, Suzanne Johnson (Jarrell Johnston) and Corinne Johnson of Eugene, OR; and Kyle (Karisa) Vander Kooi, and Stacy (Mark) Bajema of Buffalo; and her great-grandchildren, Noah, Clare, and Jack Vander Kooi, and Breanne, Eric, and Marie Bajema, all of Buffalo.
Martha is further survived by her sister, Helmi (William) Kivisto of Minneapolis; and sisters-in-law Dorothy (Reino) Kotila of Cokato, and Alvina (Donald) Kotila of Litchfield; as well as many, many loving nieces and nephews and their families, including great-great-great nieces and nephews.
Her memorial service took place Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran in French Lake, with Pastor Edward Groop officiating. Interment was at Riverside Cemetery in French Lake.
The Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato served the family.