ROCHESTER, MINN. -- "Put it in God’s Hands." These were the words by which Geraldean (Geri) Elizabeth Kueffer lived, until she passed away July 10, 2020, surrounded by her family, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Geri was a loving, caring, devoted and supportive daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She was a spiritual woman who lived a full and virtuous life. She was kind, patient, honest, ethical, trustworthy, generous, charitable and fair. Geri was a talented vocalist and musician who humbly shared her extraordinary gift at every opportunity throughout her life. She always said she started singing before she could talk.
Geri was born in Chicago, on Aug. 7, 1928, to Elizabeth Leown Phillips and Donald Dean South. She married the love of her life, Walter Karl Kueffer, on Feb. 7, 1948. Geri’s life with Wally would take her out of the city and into a life of living and raising her family in several small Midwestern towns until settling in Bradley in 1963. During that time, she thrived in her role as a mother, offering everything from advice to tickles. She loved nothing more than being there for her children and caring for her babies. In 1990, she lost her husband, Wally, but continued life with the same joy for the sake of her family. Geri stayed in Bradley until 2006 when she relocated to Rochester, Minn., where she lived until her passing.
Over the course of her life, Geri sang her heart out in church choirs and for dozens of weddings and special occasions. For more than 30 years, she sang barbershop with The Bonnie Bells and The Notations along with her quartets, The Initialaires, Rejoice and 4-Ever Friends. After raising her children, she attended classes at Kankakee Community College and earned her Associates Degrees in both Art and Music. She served as an election judge for Kankakee County and even ran for the Kankakee County Board.
Geri fought a fierce battle with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from 1998 to 2001. Thanks to successful treatment at Mayo Clinic, she savored life for another two decades. Geri had an active social life and enjoyed traveling, playing Bridge, and (her greatest joy in life) spending time with family and friends. She also enjoyed doing crossword puzzles, painting, crocheting, knitting and sewing.
Preceding her in death were her husband, Wally; daughter, Donna Pauline; her sons, Michael Lawrence and Mitchell Allen Kueffer; and granddaughter, Nicole Marie Sunberg.
Surviving are her children, Mary Susan "Sue" Kueffer, Champaign, Jennifer Kueffer (Bill) Seitl, Rochester, Minn., Walter Jr. (Sharon) Kueffer, Richmond Hill, Ga., Juliet Kueffer Sunberg (Eric Potter), Rochester, Minn., and Jacqueline Kueffer (Tommy) Kyrouac, Cissna Park; daughter-in-law, Karen Kueffer, Braselton, Ga.; grandchildren, Sanna (Jeff) Root, Tracy (Robert) Cooney, Andrea Marquardt (Dan) Donovan, Jessica (David) Cooney, Walter III (Melissa) Kueffer, Michelle (Drayson) Ussery, Alanna and Michael Kueffer, Mary Elizabeth and Jacqueline Seitl, Nicholas (Stephanie) Sunberg, Ryan and Michaela Sunberg; great-grandchildren, Charles and Anna Geraldean Donovan, Jason, Megan, Joshua, Matthew and Lily Cooney, Aiden and Collin Ussery, Ava, Walter IV, Ella and Danielle Kueffer, Nolan, Sophia and Olivia Sunberg, Aubree and Luca Markee (Sunberg); and her life-long friend, Shirley Meagher, Peoria.
Geri left her family a legacy of love. She strongly believed in the power of prayer. Everyone who knew her depended on her prayers to help them through difficult times. She will always be remembered for her warm heart and hugs, sympathetic ear, quick wit and wonderful sense of humor, sparkling eyes and smile, and melodious laughter. She was truly beautiful, both inside and out.