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).