Geraldine "Geri" E. Bloyer, age 91 of Darlington and formerly of Waunakee, died on Friday April 7, 2017 at her home in Darlington. She was born on September 13, 1925 in Richwood Township Richland County Wisconsin. The daughter of Lloyd and Nora (Dalton) Chitwood. She married Forrest "Jake" Bloyer on December 19, 1947 in Excelsior. He preceded her in death on November 7, 1992. She is survived by two daughters: Sheryl “Sheri” (David) Chellevold of Darlington, Susan (Larry) Ganshert of Brooklyn Wisconsin. 5 Grandchildren, 16 Great-Grandchildren. Two sisters: Shirley Everson of Waterloo Wi., Patsy Small of West Allis. A sister-in-law Nancy Chitwood of Gotham. She was preceded in death by two brothers Wrenville Chitwood, Richard "Dick" Chitwood. A sister Dottie Kendall.
Geraldine Elaine (nee: Chitwood) Bloyer was born a “blue baby,” not breathing. Her mother’s sister, Pearl, refused to give up on her and so massaged, warmed and breathed her own breath into her little body until she cried and began breathing on her own. Health challenges continued to plague her as she grew, causing her to miss school and be kept at home. A younger sister, Shirley (we call her “Mike”---a long family story!), soon came along and caught up to her in school. They then continued on in school together in the same grade until graduating from Blue River High School.
The Chitwood family consisted of two boys, Ren & Dick, who respectively were the oldest and youngest in the family, and four girls, Dottie, Geri, Shirley & Patsy, who were born in between. Tragedy befell their young farm family when their father was killed in a tractor accident. Their mother Nora remained on the farm and never remarried. She ran the farm with the help of hired men and she raised the children with the help of her sister-in-laws, Clara Belle and Orpha, who never married. The example they set as strong, capable, independent and family-centered women supported and motivated the six children & caused them to remain loyal and supportive to each other their entire lives.
Geri learned to cook, bake, garden, sew her own clothes (later sewing for her daughters as well), do outside work and generally tackle any project. No consideration was given as to whether the work was considered “men’s work” or “women’s work”. It was all simply work that needed to be done. She carried that attitude forward in her married life.
When World War II ended, Geri married Jake Bloyer, a Blue River boy, and together they moved to Tomah where Jake worked as a Transportation Clerk at the V.A. Hospital. Jake’s brother Vic had developed an interest in flying and Jake caught the bug too. Together they developed and owned the Tomah Airport, building airplanes and giving flying lessons. Jake earned multiple licenses in his lifetime as his hobby became his passion and his passion became his career. Jake & Geri moved from Tomah to the Madison area and from the Madison area to St. Charles, Illinois, where they lived in an apartment, while keeping the Madison home. He worked for the Federal Aeronautics Administration as a Senior Flight Examiner. Upon his retirement from the FAA they moved back to Madison.
Both Sheri and Susi loved to fly with their Dad. They especially loved his spins, roll-overs, “roller coaster rides” and loops in the N3N Bi-plane, but when Mom went along they only flew straight and level. The young girl who had married a daring pilot never liked flying and easily became airsick. Although she never learned to love flying her love and commitment to the man she had married remained strong. They had made plans for life in retirement. It included grandchildren, travel and camping, but those plans were curtailed when Jake was diagnosed with colon cancer. As she had always done, she
faced those challenges with him, standing by his side, nursing him and caring for him until his death in 1992. Although she did not drive, she remained in the home they had built in the country. She tended to its upkeep, mowed the large corner lot with a self-propelled push mower, planted her vegetable garden and tended the flowers that she loved. Red geraniums were always a staple. Friends and family helped her but she remained fiercely independent much as her mother had done. Later she made the decision to move to Darlington so that she could be near Sheri in the event that she would grow
to need assistance. There too she continued to live independently in her own home, accepting help only as SHE determined it was needed.
During her lifetime, she faced many challenges. In meeting those challenges she taught us by example to be strong, resilient and hard-working, loyal and supportive of each other. She taught us life is about family and friends. While she was a private person and did not enjoy the limelight herself, she encouraged us to “step into the arena of life”, each in our own way, each pursuing our own interests. She was always there to cheer us on. She may have been surprised to know we were her best cheerleaders too. We respected, admired and loved her as did others fortunate enough to learn to know her well.
We will always remember:
-That she was an avid reader, especially loving biographies and autobiographies and learning about new things. For many years she shared that love with her friends in the Study Club that met at her Middleton church.
-That she loved music, especially classical and opera music, jazz and the blues.
“Deep Purple” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” were two of her favorites. They were played during the Visitation. The trombone was her instrument and she told how she and Dad had gone to a “trombone-only” concert in Chicago. She said it felt like she was sitting inside a pipe organ that was being played at full voice. It was thrilling and the memory was vivid.
-That she loved to hold babies, especially our babies.
-That she taught us how to hold special friends close to our hearts, making them an integral part of our “family”.
-That when we were sick, her cool hand placed on our fevered brow was more
healing than the medicine the doctor prescribed.
-That she heard the most amazing stories on her radio in the middle of the night and that she stayed in touch with world events by watching Fox News nearly 24/7 on her 45” stereo TV. That she had her opinions and she’d argue them zealously. Having lived through the Depression and World War II, where Dad fought at Iwo Jima, she worried about the world she was turning over to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the new challenges they would face.
-That her TV could be quickly switched to Wisconsin Public Television for special feature, music and drama programs and to sports channels when the Badgers were playing. And, of course, she couldn’t miss “Dancing With The Stars” or “Saturday Night Live”.
-That she loved horses (though she never rode herself) and that she especially loved “Lady”, the horse that Susi rode. That she looked forward to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes horse races though she never placed a bet.
-That she loved to play horseshoe, croquet and a card game called Somerset. Her grandchildren will tell you that she also liked to win and they accused her of changing the rules just to be sure that she could!
-That she made the best cookies in the world, especially chocolate chip. They may have been smaller than we would have liked but she explained they were small because she liked them too but shouldn’t eat too many.
-That the Chicago Cubs were her team. She knew the players and she knew their strengths and weaknesses. Baseball was Dad’s sport and she was always sorry that WWII prevented him from pursuing the professional career he had been scouted for. How pleased we are that she got to see her Cubbies win the World Series last year.
-That she loved Pepsi and one cup of coffee was never enough. When she recently became dehydrated, her doctor told her she’d need to cut back. She frowned and the doctor continued, “or drink two glasses of water for each cup of coffee or glass of Pepsi that you consume”. Since she hated the “taste” of cold water she turned to drinking it hot just like her coffee. When we reminded her to drink milk, she said she didn’t like it either, then she “drank” her milk by turning it into pudding and creamed soups. She was both resourceful and frugal.
-That she always kept starlight mints hidden in an ice bucket and spearmint gum hidden in the cupboard above the stove. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren alike knew she’d share if they didn’t take too many because she explained she needed to keep them on hand so she could re-stock her purse before every trip.
-That she had a dry sense of humor, often belied only by the twinkle in her eye.
-That she taught us you can go anywhere and feel suitably dressed once you’ve tied a decorator scarf around your neck and put on your earrings and lipstick.
-That a Fall trip to the Oakwood Orchard in Richland Center for McIntosh apples is mandatory. They’re needed to make the best home-made applesauce, a necessary staple in her pantry. Last Fall, at her direction, she and Sheri turned three bushels of apples into applesauce. She wanted to be sure she didn’t run out.
-That she wanted fresh fruit in her refrigerator at all times. She ate it every day. When she was running low she’d make a desperate cry, “I need fruit! I need fruit!” and an emergency grocery run was made.
-That although she didn’t drink alcoholic beverages, she loved to go to “Annie’s
Bar & Grill” for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. She said their hamburgers and Friday Fish were the best. Besides, they told her they’d put the coffee on when they saw her pull into the parking lot. Her son-in-law, Dave, told her he was sorry Jake hadn’t lived to see his wife turn into a “bar-fly”!
-That she loved her sisters dearly and enjoyed their excursions together. That the earth stood still and everyone else faded into the background when she was with them. They shared a special bond that could make the rest of us (including her children!) feel left out and just a bit envious.
-That every morning at 7:00 she and Aunt Mike checked on each other by phone, using a code they’d based on rings. They’d call back later if they needed to talk.
-That she loved nature, especially cardinals. She’d tell us of her spottings and we’d tell her of ours. They adorned and decorated her home, her clothes, her patio. Some because she put them there and many because we’d given them to her. When we’d see a cardinal in our gift search, we always knew “Grandma Enie would like this” and the perfect gift had been found.
-We remember how she repeated again and again, “Time goes so fast, it goes so fast. Can you feel it?” She felt it going faster and faster the older she got. We felt it too.
As her daughters, we will always appreciate that she encouraged us each to be “our own person” and to be true to ourselves. She allowed us to have interests different from one another and she encouraged us equally. To us she was Mom. She spoke and we listened. She taught us to stand firm in our convictions and strong in our beliefs. She led by example. To her nieces and nephews she was Aunt Enie, to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren she was Grandma Enie. Enie was the name that had been given to her by her little brother, Dick, when he could not pronounce her name, and it stuck.
We will miss her more than words can say but we know that Dad’s been waiting for her for a very long time. We hope that she’s telling him that we took good care of her while he was away just as we promised him that we would. And, just as God promised, we know they’ll both be waiting for us at Heaven’s gate when it’s our turn to leave this earthly life. It’s that promise that makes bearable the pain we feel in missing her today. God bless you, Mom. And, just as you prayed, may God bless us all.
Memorial Services will be held on Tuesday April 18 at 11:00 A.M. at the Kendall Funeral Home in Boscobel. Pastor Jean Bartlett officiating. Burial in the Sand Prairie Cemetery rural Boscobel. Friends may call on Tuesday April 18 from 10:00 A.M. until the time of service at the Kendall Funeral Home in Boscobel. Online condolences can be sent to www.kendallfuneralservice.com
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