Elizabeth Nellie Gerard
April 14, 1926 – May 16, 2019
Elizabeth Nellie (Vande Weerd) Gerard went to be with the Lord on May 16, 2019. Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents, Brunis and Bertha (Kingma) Vande Weerd, both of Newton, Iowa; newborn son, Charles Emil Gerard; and husband, Emil Gerard. She is survived by her son and daughter, David Gerard and Marcia Gerard, both of Omaha, NE; her sister, Marie Hardenbrook; nieces,: Janet Hardenbrook and Joyce (Dave) Beckham, all of Newton, IA, Lavon Roush (Kansas City, MO) and Linda (Jerry) Barns (Grinnell, IA); nephews: Jim (Angie) Hardenbrook (Reasnor, IA,) Roger (Jackie) Gerard (Hartwick, IA), Ivan (Kay) Gerard (Omaha, NE), and Philip (Susan) Gerard (Phoenix,AZ); many other loving relatives and friends.
Elizabeth Nellie (VandeWeerd) Gerard was born on April 14, 1926, in the original Fred Maytag Sr. family farmhouse, in rural Newton, Iowa, to Brunis and Bertha (Kingma) Vande Weerd. Both her parents were employed by Fred Maytag, Sr. on the Maytag family dairy farm. Mr. Maytag helped Elizabeth’s father get started in his own dairy farm by providing him with dairy cattle from the Maytag herd. Due to WWII gas rationing, dairy farmers would be given extra gas stamps. Since there was no school bus transportation for her to get into town to attend Newton High School, she drove her father’s coup loaded with filled milk cans, and delivered milk into town before going to school. After school, she picked up the empty cans, and drove back to her father’s farm. She attended Newton High School for 4 years, graduating in 1944.
Following graduation, Elizabeth worked one year for the government, then married Emil Gerard and moved to Brooklyn, Iowa, where her husband and his two brothers opened their Gerard Produce and Feed agricultural business. They were married for 67 years. Elizabeth operated a home-based cake baking business for weddings, birthdays, and other special events in and around the Brooklyn area. Life was grand for her family due to her extra special loving efforts to make everyone happy. Putting others’ needs ahead of her own was her lifelong story. It was an honor and privilege for David and Marcia to take care of their Mother, in their home, up to the end of her life.
In 1961, our family moved to Newton, Iowa. Mom worked full-time at Newton Manufacturing Company for 27 years. She LOVED her job. Mom was always very active in church work. For over 30 years, she served Newton’s First Assembly of God Church as a Sunday School Superintendent for the Primary and Junior level programs; Sunday School Program Secretary; led Sunday morning Children’s Church services; taught Beginner’s Age Sunday School; played her Hawaiian steel guitar in the Sunday evening orchestra; sang in the church choir and in vocal ensembles with her husband and sister; was involved in the Women’s Missionary Council; attended Sunday evening Christ’s Ambassadors services; assisted with Vacation Bible School; participated in the church’s annual Christmas Play; was Director of the children’s Sunshine Choir; and played her guitar and sang for Sunday nursing home monthly outreach services.
In 1993, Elizabeth and her husband bought a brand new home and moved to Omaha, Nebraska. In Omaha, Elizabeth was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church and their Women’s Circle for 22 years; she baked and decorated 300 cookies for her son’s annual Piano Studio Recital Receptions for 14 years; mowed lawns and shoveled snow up until 2005. She had boundless energy, joyous enthusiasm, a genuine love for life, for her family, for Jesus, and exuded pure joy from being able to work and serve others.
Elizabeth lived a life of love, prayer, gentleness, devoted Christian service, contentment, and a tireless spirit. She left her family with a legacy of what it means to be content in all things. She exemplified the fulfillment and blessings from serving the Lord. We will miss having her gentle spirit with us. We loved her dearly.
VISITATION: Saturday, June 1st from 12noon to 12:45pm, followed by SERVICES at 1pm at Faith Westwood United Methodist Church, 4814 Oaks Lane. Memorials will be directed by the family according to her final wishes, at P.O. Box 45301, Omaha, NE, 68145.