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Life Story / Obituary
Full of life, full of spunk, and full of just a little sass, Geraldine "Geri" Taylor - Petty was the heartbeat of wherever she was. She was strong, independent, and feisty with a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Although she was a mother, Geri really came into her own as a grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a people person who got along with everyone, and it was never too difficult to know what she really thought as she had little to no filter. Although she will be deeply missed, she will never be forgotten.
The 1930s were largely defined by the Great Depression. Jobs were few and far between, the unemployment rate soared, and countless American families found themselves without homes. Despite the trials around them, Arthur and Mildred (Meyers) Taylor experienced some joy in their lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Geraldine on September 24, 1931, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was the third child in her family and was raised in Grand Rapids, attending Harrison Park Elementary. Although Geri’s childhood did have some trials, she was never one to complain. After her parents divorced, Geri’s mother later remarried, which brought three step brothers into her life, and four half-sisters later followed. It was while growing up that Geri developed her lifelong love for sports, and she was particularly fond of the Grand Rapids Chicks. She also learned to hunt and fish, which also became lifelong hobbies. Geri was always very independent and also had a feisty side at times.
A free spirited person, Geri was ready for adventure as a young woman. She traveled to Las Vegas many times and was also blessed with the birth of her daughter, Pam. Geri also met and married Ray Earhardt, but they divorced after a couple of years.
New and exciting changes were in store for Geri when she met a man named Harold Kuieck. They later married, and they enjoyed just being together as they had things like hunting and fishing in common. Geri was particularly fond of hunting in the Upper Peninsula, and she also fished in Northern Michigan fairly regularly. They lived in a house on 8th Avenue, and they also built a golf course together, Western Greens. Geri and Harold were very involved in the development there as she also ran one of the tractors as they were building the course.
Around the house Geri was always a bustle of activity. She was a great cook who was known for her pecan pies, soups, potato salad, coleslaw, and applesauce in addition to her ability to cook wild game. Geri did a lot of canning and freezing with everything packed into the freezer just so. She was an incredible hostess who held all the family gatherings and holiday parties. Interestingly, Geri enjoyed all of the planning and work that went into hosting events. Always surprising, she was the one who started the tradition of throwing her fresh rolls across the table! At the same time, Geri was a neat and orderly housekeeper whose house was always immaculately kept. She worked hard outside of the home as she spent some time working in the Pantlind Hotel downtown. In her fifties, Geri bought a bar and restaurant downtown called Moods. She was not only the owner, but also a bartender and cook. She was always very proud of her business. Later on, Geri married Ralph Petty, and they were married for about ten years before his death.
After Ralph’s death, Geri helped take care of her stepmother, Nan, until her death and then took care of her own mother for several more years. She and her mother enjoyed going shopping and were always looking for deals whether at garage sales or in a retail store. Geri and her mother also played Bingo and also played the lottery.
As she got older, Geri really didn’t slow down much. She also became quite skilled in her role as a grandmother. Geri’s grandchildren loved being with her and thought it was so fun to come visit her at The Mood where she made them burgers. Her grandchildren enjoyed talking with her and she was always so much fun. Geri shared her passions with them like fishing and camping, but they were also just as happy hanging out. She gave each of her grandchildren nicknames, and she was there to support them in all their activities. Things only got better when Geri became a great-grandmother. She loved holding them when they were babies and just being with them whenever she could.
All who knew Geri would agree that she was certainly lively and even animated at times. She was a talker who talked with her hands, usually with a cigarette in hand, and she was opinionated as well. Geri loved watching sports, primarily football and baseball, and she was always very loud with the television, too. When she was younger, Geri bowled for a number of years. She was a proud Republican and she kept up on the news both on television and by reading the paper. Geri was also a devoted American who drove big cars and believed in buying American made products. A bundle of energy, she usually stayed up late and then slept late, and she remained active, too, always doing something like cleaning, raking leaves, and even shoveling snow! Geri was very close with her sisters, and she looked forward to getting together with her sisters, daughter, and granddaughters for “gram’s birthday.”
As her family and friends can attest, life was never dull when Geraldine “Geri” Petty was around. She was very expressive, affectionate, and know for her hugs, and she was also very good at reading people. Full of life, there was no one who met Geri and left unchanged. A loving mother and doting grandmother and great-grandmother and dear sister, she was completely devoted to her family. Deeply loved, Geri will never be forgotten.
Geraldine "Geri" Taylor - Petty, age 84 passed away February 3, 2016, in the company of her family. She was preceded in death by her parents, Mildred Meyers Arthur (Opal) Taylor; and by her husband, Ralph Petty. Geri is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Pam and Dave Visser; grandchildren (and great grandchildren) Jodi &Dan Bazuin (Brady, Ava), Jamie & Travis Kragt (Hudson, Grace, Lily) and David & Nicole Visser (Austin, Keaton); sisters Pauline Ingersoll, Chris Christopolis, Carla Driver, Kaye (Dave) Chamberlin, Connie (Lou) Schultz and Cheryl Meyers; as well as several nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Geri's life will be on Monday, February 8 at 11 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW where friends may visit with her family on Sunday from 1-3 PM and on Monday from 10-10:45 AM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Hospice of Michigan are appreciated. To read more about her life, share a favorite memory or sign her guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com