Obituary of Laura Louise Gerlach (nee Mokrzycki)
GERLACH (nee Mokrzycki),
Loving Wife, Mother,
Grandma, Great Gram
Laura Louise Gerlach passed suddenly and peacefully in her pre-dawn sleep Sunday Morning, January 9, 2022 at 101 years old. Her wish of a peaceful departure to an Eternal Life with Jesus was granted to her faithful soul. Laura was born November 29, 1920 to Polish immigrant parents, Joseph and Mary Mokrzycki on the East Side of St. Paul. Her father was a carpenter cabinet maker for Great Northern Railroad and her mother managed the 2-acre family produce farm at Westminster and Hyacinth where Laura helped out for her first 10 years growing up. At the beginning of the Great Depression when her father’s hours were cut to 2 weeks per month, the Family moved to Akeley, Minnesota to farm with plow horses, keeping milk cows, raising chickens and produce on 80 acres of stony land between lakes Crow Wing 10 and 11 with no rural electricity, running water or indoor conveniences. At age 15, Laura spent 3 summers in St. Paul to earn money for her family as a live-in domestic care giver for a stroke stricken mother and elderly grandmother for a Jewish family where Laura kept a Kosher kitchen and home. She was given time off Sundays to attend Catholic Mass nearby at St. Adalbert Church and the Cathedral. Laura graduated from Akeley High School in 1938 and attended their Reunions. Laura returned to St. Paul and boxed cakes at Purity Baking Company and met her future husband George, a Shipping Clerk, at the freight elevator where he made a beeline to help Laura navigate racks full of cakes. They began dating and Laura took the train to Texas, where they were engaged, while George was training for the WWII Normandy Invasion. Laura worked at the Great Northern Railroad as a book keeper and when George returned, they married in 1946 at St. Adalbert’s Polish National Catholic Church right across Charles Avenue from the Gerlach Family home. They settled on Charles Avenue in the St. Paul Frogtown Neighborhood, raised two sons, graduating from St. Agnes Grade and High Schools. Later Laura and George were faithful parishioners at Presentation Catholic Church and after George’s death in 2007, regularly attended St. Adalbert’s Church with her brother, Gene then worshipped at home and then attended Assumption Church on occasion with son, Tom (Dianne). Laura was preceded in death by parents, Joseph and Mary; loving husband of 62 years, George; siblings, Helen (Charles) Kaufmann, Ted (Betty), Albion, and infant, Joseph Mokrzycki. Laura is survived by siblings, Eugene and attentive brother, Edmond “Eddy” Mokrzycki; son, Thomas (Dianne), grandson, Luke (Katie) and granddaughter, Amy (Justin) Dailey, great-grandchildren, Grant Gerlach, Isaac Dailey, Ava Dailey and Gabe Gerlach; son, Steven (Chardel), grandson, Jonathan (Amy) and granddaughter, Audra (Steven) Ferrall, great grandchildren, Violet Ferrall, Harrison Ferrall and Mitchell Gerlach. Laura was also survived by nieces, nephews and special friends who showed Laura attention throughout their lives; nephew, Jack Kneissel providing for his Godmother Laura’s haircare while in Residence at Dellwood Gardens - inquiring about her weekly to the very time she passed; husband, George’s Godson and nephew, Ken McCoy who inquired about Laura weekly; special friends, Ken and Jean who provided for Lauras spiritual and physical well-being through inclusion into their family for over 50 years. Laura's time at Dellwood Gardens, after living at her own home until age 99, was graced by assisted living in memory care through the long isolations of Covid. Dellwood staff members, notably, Mike, assisting weekly live video conversations and photographs with family availing GrandPad on Laura’s tablet; Sigrid, for directing and leading Nursing care; Kay, engaging Laura in activities, doing Laura’s nails and impromptu live video on Laura’s tablet; Courtney as director of Housing in keeping a clean, orderly and safe living environment; Lindsey in providing guiding leadership and personal interaction with Laura; and importantly care providers, especially Brian, who would listen and interact to Laura’s stories and observations with laughter until they both would cry. Up until the day before Laura died with a smile on her face. Laura was a Member of the Polish American Club, loved their dances, their food and music. She attended Symphonia and was a Member of the American Legion. At Laura’s request there will be no Funeral Mass or any gathering for her passing. She desired peace in family and those about her and asked that they observe her passing with their own faith tradition and in their heart with a prayer. Laura will have a private interment at a later date with husband, George at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery.
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