Cover photo for Gaedtka, Gerry's Obituary
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Gaedtka, Gerry

d. October 25, 2012

Gerry O’Dell Brannan Gaedtka, 79, of Springfield, passed away at her home on Thursday, October 25, 2012 . She was born September 12, 1933 in Lincoln, Ill., the daughter of Clifford and Mary Agnes Brannan. She excelled at academics and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1951. Upon graduating from Lincoln College, she started teaching at Chestnut Elementary School. She continued her education at Illinois State University and completed a Bachelor’s degree in business education and history. She taught in those areas at Atlanta, Mt. Pulaski and Lanphier High Schools. She received her Master’s degree in educational administration from ISU and continued teaching until 1968 when she started working for the Illinois State Board of Education in a newly formed department to oversee business education programs throughout Illinois. Her life changed forever when she married Wilbur Carl Gaedtka on June 17, 1972 in Athens, Ill. at Immanuel Lutheran Church and she became a mother to four year old Suzanne and twelve year old Margaret. For 40 years she loved nothing more in this world than being a wife and mother. She was able to balance family life with the challenges of a career when it was not common for a women to do so. She enjoyed being a room mother and often helped with school activities and field trips in the Athens School District. She continued working for ISBE for over thirty years and became the head business education consultant for the state. She co-authored the book Business Education for the ’90s and received many awards and honors during her career. Having traveled throughout the state of Illinois for many years for her job, she enjoyed spending her retirement at home with family and friends. She loved watching TV, especially movies, crime scene investigations and various news programs. She enjoyed following the national political scene and helped to expand and protect the rights of women in their professional and personal lives. She had an extensive knowledge of U.S. history, especially the Civil War, and was an incredibly skilled typist. Her favorite food was Gabatoni’s pizza, and she liked to relax with a good cup of coffee and a cookie. She was an active member of Lincoln Christian Church for many years until she married Wilbur and joined Immanuel Lutheran Church. She helped with family activities there and was a past president and member of the Ruth Naomi Circle. She was well versed in the stories of the Bible and lived her life with generosity and compassion for others.

She was proud of her Irish heritage and used her feisty spirit and determination to get through many challenges in this life. Her struggles came to an end last Thursday morning when her spirit passed from this world to live in eternal peace in heaven. She will be missed dearly by her family and friends. Gerry was preceded in death by her beloved mother and father and her sisters Katherine

Brannan and Sandra Brannan Ely.

She is survived by her dear husband, Wilbur; daughters, Margaret and Suzanne Gaedtka all of Springfield and her sister and brother-in-law, Jacqueline and Lowell “Bud” Petty of Lincoln. Visitation will be held at Mott & Henning Funeral Home on Monday, October 29, 2012 from 5:00 until 7:00 PM. Funeral services will be held there on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 11:00 AM. Rev. Ken Gennicks will be officiating. Burial will be held at Joel Hall Cemetery in Athens. Memorials can be made to the Athens Food Pantry or Waggin’ Tails (Animal Protective League).


  1. Margaret & family,

    I am so sorry for your loss.My thought and prayers are with you.

  2. We are so sorry to hear about Gerry. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

    Love, David, Amy, and family

  3. Suzanne,

    I am so sorry about your Mom. What a wonderful life she lead. I enjoyed reading about all the things she accomplished and finding out she was involved in business education–the same as me. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


  4. Our prayers are with you and your family. I am a dear friend of Jackie’s. Gerry is now at peace. Heaven received a beautiful angel last Thursday. Donna

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I worked with Gerry at the State Board and she was such a character. Way before computers you could hear her busily typing away at her desk on the old typewriter. She would go “plug her meter” and come back an hour or so later with her hair done. After she retired she would call in occasionally to see what was going on. I really enjoyed her phone calls especially being the last one of the Old Consultant Services Section still working at the Board. She always spoke of her family. Gerry left her mark on business education programs around the state. May you find comfort in all the wonderful stories of her and that now she is watching carefully over us all in the kingdom of heaven.

  6. Suzanne, I am sorry to hear of your loss. You and our family are in my prayers

    Shannon Parker Sexton

  7. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time in your lives as I truly understand in just losing my mother recently. I was glad to know Gerry and always enjoyed our weekly appointments where we always seemed to make one another smile and laugh in the process. She was a great women and I will miss our Monday mornings at 10:30 together. Please know that I am praying and thinking of you all during this trying time in your lives.

  8. I remember Gerry as an amazingly smart and capable woman. The story I heard is that as a young person, during a summer job, she once took 5 separate civil service tests and passed all 5 with high marks, all in one day, thereby increasing her government rank and salary level considerably…just because she could. She was a fast typist… over 120 wpm.

    My deepest sympathy to Gerry’s family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Gaedtka and Brannan family. Gerry had an unquestionable love and dedication to her family. May God bring you peace during this difficult time. We love you! Jerry, Rhonda, Becca and Jeremy Olson

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