Loretta Faye (Stierhoff) Gerber, 83, Castalia, Ohio, passed away July 6th, 2021, after courageously battling chronic pain and Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
Loretta was born February 1, 1938 to John A. and Elsie [nee Stacker] Stierhoff, Sr. at the family homestead near Milan. Growing up just after the Great Depression, her upbringing instilled in her the importance of hard work and making do, such as growing a garden and sewing clothes and household items out of feedsacks. As a teenager, she worked different jobs including detasseling field corn and babysitting. She graduated in 1955 from Milan Local High School as valedictorian of her class, a family tradition she shared with two of her sisters; she also played clarinet in the Erie County Marching Band during high school. Loretta pursued clerical work as a vocation through employment at several office, business, and bookkeeping jobs in the Milan and Sandusky areas including working at a jewelry store, then at an insurance agency, and finally at Periodical Publishers.
In 1957, Loretta caught the eye of U.S. Air Force Veteran Marvin J. Gerber, Sr. at a dance at the Silver Ballroom in Bellevue. Their courtship included many trips around the dance floor as they went to numerous dances. They wed September 26, 1959 at St. Michaels (now St. Gaspar del Búfalo) Church south of Bellevue (Marywood), Ohio. After briefly residing in Sandusky and then Groton Township, Loretta and Marvin bought a home in Margaretta Township where they raised their five children and continue to reside. She was a loyal and loving wife to Marvin, sharing 61 years together with him.
When Loretta had her first child, she decided to dedicate her life to being a fantastic and wonderful mother. Each fall when their five children were small, Marvin and Loretta planned an annual “one-tank-trip” to take their children to sightsee various historical landmarks across Ohio. As her children turned into young adults, Loretta remained dedicated to each of them. From ensuring that James always had green beans which she had canned when he moved to Geneva, OH to work at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant to ensuring that Catherine’s nursing uniforms were always crisp, clean, and white as she entered the nursing profession at Providence Hospital to staying on top of Marvin Jr. as he balanced school and basketball at Margaretta High School to sharing insights with Cynthia as she undertook business courses at Terra Community College to washing loads of laundry John brought home from B.G.S.U. as he completed his education degree, Loretta worked tirelessly to nurture and care for her family.
Once her youngest children were old enough to be left at home, Marvin and Loretta returned to the dance floor spending many Saturday nights dancing and socializing with relatives and friends at various Eagles Clubs. They also gathered with other couples to play cards. Loretta played the pipe organ for many years at Holy Angels Catholic Church, Sandusky, and for the weddings of numerous nieces and nephews. In evenings at home, Loretta would keep her hands busy crocheting afghans and baby blankets for nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. She also enjoyed cross stitching, making friends via CB radio, and growing various flowering perennials, especially daylilies. Always attentive to detail, Loretta was an avid genealogist who worked diligently in developing the extended family trees of both the Stierhoff and Gerber families’ ancestors. She briefly served as an officer of the Huron County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society and was involved in compiling, cataloging, and publishing several cemetery censuses as well as verifying first family status of descendants.
Loretta kept a clean and ordered home where her children were instilled with the guiding principles of working hard and knowing the difference between right and wrong. When she wasn’t hanging out laundry, preserving home grown fruits and vegetables, mending clothes or worrying about one of her children, she was likely cooking a meal from scratch for her family or, once all her children and husband were in bed, she spent countless hours in her chair crocheting or cross stitching. More recently, she assembled jigsaw puzzles with Marvin Sr. which are framed and adorn the walls of their home. She worked tirelessly to take care of her husband and children. We will miss her greatly.
She is survived by husband Marvin Sr. and their five children, James (Darlene), Geneva; Catherine Myerholtz, Columbus; Marvin Jr. (Lisa Crawford), Castalia; Cynthia (Eric) Watson, Blacklick; and John (Heather), Castalia; granddaughters Paulina and Sabrina Crawford-Gerber and Megan Watson, grandsons Ryan Myerholtz and Thomas Watson, great grandson Jackson Garner, sister Beulah Kelbley, and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
In addition to her parents, paternal grandparents (John M. and Christine Stierhoff, Sr.), and maternal grandparents (Hank and Molly Stacker), Loretta was predeceased by sister Gladys (Robert) Drake, brother Harvey (Gladys [nee Nickoli]) Stierhoff, brother-in-law Edmund Kelbley, sister Ethel Stierhoff [in infancy] and brother John Stierhoff, Jr.
Family and friends will be received Sunday afternoon, July 11, 2021, from 2-6 p.m. at the David F. Koch Funeral and Cremation Services, 520 Columbus Ave, Sandusky, OH. The Rosary will be prayed at 1:45 p.m. Prayers will be recited Monday morning, July 12, 2021 a 9:40 am at the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 510 Columbus Ave, Sandusky, OH. Fr. Zach Brown officiating. She will be laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery, Sandusky.
If you have not been vaccinated for COVID, the family requests that you wear a mask and observe social distancing.
Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Association Northwest Ohio Chapter, 480 Dussel Drive, Suite 150, Maumee, OH 43537; Stein Hospice Service, Inc., 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, OH 44870 or to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 510 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, OH 44870.
Your memories and words of comfort may be shared with Loretta's family at davidfkoch.com.
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