Cover photo for Jean R. Gerhard's Obituary
Jean R. Gerhard Profile Photo
1931 Jean 2019

Jean R. Gerhard

February 8, 1931 — May 23, 2019

Jean Marie (Reedy) Gerhard

Jean Gerhard, a cherished wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and friend to many, died peacefully at home on May 23, 2019, with loving family and caring hospice nurses present, after a short struggle with a recently diagnosed rapidly growing brain tumor. Jean was born February 8, 1931, to John (JW) and Mary (Scott) Reedy of Villa Park, Illinois, the sixth in a family that would grow to eleven (Bill, Pat, Jack, Betty, Bob, Rosemary, Joe, and Carol). She attended St. Alexander's Catholic School and York High School, then acquired administrative skills and worked in the family's JW Reedy Real Estate offices before she met the love of her life, William (Bill) John Gerhard, at a church function. They married November 21, 1953, in Villa Park, Illinois. Bill, who was working for Argonne National Lab in Chicago, was transferred back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It was in Tennessee that Jean and Bill began their adventure together, building a young family (sons Mark and Leo) while Bill worked on a team creating one of the first "electronic brains" or mainframe computers (ORACLE). They moved to Dayton, Ohio, in the late 1950s, so that Bill could take a job with NCR, and their family grew in size to ten (with Marie, Eileen, Edwin, Karl, Timothy, and Susan). After she lost Bill, who had been living fourteen years with leukemia, Jean returned to full-time work, beginning at Top Value in 1979. She worked happily past retirement age at Standard Register in Dayton. In retirement, she enjoyed watching the family grow—with thirteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren, one born in the final weeks of her life that she was especially pleased to meet.

Jean was a deeply religious, powerfully generous, fun-loving, open-minded, and warm person who loved to create in her garden, walk and visit with her neighbors, play bridge with friends, and participate in square dancing and aerobic exercise at local recreation and senior centers. An enthusiastic member of Ascension Parish, she was a regular attendee of its 5 pm Saturday mass and committed to her practice of reciting the Rosary. She was an active link in a number of prayer chains. Jean had a special fondness for poetry, which she also wrote, and music, which she loved to sing—even to her final days. She found particular pleasure in birds, flowers, and natural wonders, and loved picnicking in parks and woods.

For most of her forties, the searing facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia prevented Jean from laughing, but a successful treatment was found in her early fifties. Once cured, Jean never stopped smiling, it seemed—offering a daily joke to most anyone, including friends and her children in whatever part of the country they found themselves, and collecting punch lines from as many sources as she could find. In her final years, she and her dear sister Pat enjoyed a laugh together daily as well as a Jumble puzzle from the newspaper. Jean loved local community events, including outdoor music and block parties, and had a devotion to Kettering's Labor Day Parade, which she attended every year—except for the one year, she would often recall, when she gave birth to a child on Labor Day itself.

She is survived by her loving sisters, Pat and Rosemary (Russ), and sisters-in-law Anna and Donna; her eight devoted children, Mark, Leo (Genie), Marie (Mark), Eileen, Edwin (Katie), Karl (Yvette), Timothy (Katy) and Susan (Doug); her thirteen delightful grandchildren, Lee Sean (Kate), Brandon, Jonathan (Kryslyn), Alexander (Rebeka), Zachary (Cherise), Mia, Sarah (Pat), Tommy, Jack, Russell, Greyson, Samuel, and Jakob; and her five wonderful great-grandchildren Lacey, Jack, Amelia, Orion, and Noah. She is preceded in death by brothers Bill, Jack, Bob and Joe, sisters Betty and Carol, brothers-in-law Wally and Mike, sisters-in-law Louise and Betty.

A viewing will be held on Thursday, May 30, 5-7 pm at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 E Stroop Road, Kettering. A Mass of Christian Burial and celebration of Jean's life follow on Friday, May 31, 10:30 am, at Church of the Ascension, 2025 Woodman Drive, Kettering. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Church of the Ascension, Kettering. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jean R. Gerhard, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, May 30, 2019

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, May 31, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Ascension Catholic Church

2025 Woodman Dr., Kettering, OH 45420

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