Anne Sherwood Witte Gerke
April 9, 1940- March 19, 2023
Last updated 5/30/2023 at 4:40pm
Born April 9,1940 in Houston, Texas, Anne attended San Jacinto High School and graduated from Rice University with a bachelor's in history in 1961. She met her future husband, John, in a history class there. She and John were married on June 16, 1961 in Houston.
John and Anne moved to San Antonio, Texas, where they were both school teachers. They were blessed with two children born in San Antonio: Jeff and Sarah. They elected to have Anne be a stay-at-home mom while Jeff and Sarah were in their infancy years but found that John's annual pay of $3,000 was stretching them thin. John accepted a job offer from IBM and spent the rest of his career with them. IBM eventually moved him (and the whole family) from San Antonio to Phoenix, and then to Fort Worth, where they were until John's retirement.
Anne was the glue that held the family together and strengthened their bond over their more than 61 years of marriage. She loved traveling and camping, and she and John visited almost every state and much of Europe and Israel.
In 1999, John and Anne moved to Sisters, where they both became believers in Jesus. They were active in Sisters Community Church, and Anne took on the role of women's ministries leader. She served in that role until January 2015, when she suffered the onset of memory loss. In 2019, Jeff and his wife, Robin, and their three children moved to Sisters to help care for Anne, whose dementia was progressing. Sarah also lived nearby, in Sandy, with her husband, David, and their five children and stepchildren.
On December 28, 2022, John and Anne moved to Shelley, Idaho. There, Anne entered The Gables Memory Care of Shelley. Anne received the loving care of a wonderful staff. Then, early on the morning of March 19, 2023, with her husband by her side, Anne passed calmly and peacefully into eternity.
She is survived by husband, John Gerke; son, Jeff Gerke, daughter-in-law Robin Gerke and their children, Grace Hardin (and her husband Eric Hardin), Nathan Gerke, and Sophie Gerke; Anne's daughter, Sarah Van Diest, and her husband, David, and their five sons, Sam Van Diest and his wife, Nika, Max Van Diest, Titus Van Diest and his wife, Dannah; Caleb Purswell; and Colin Purswell. She is also survived by Anne's niece, Hope Tackaberry Millard, and Anne's sister-in-law, Susan Gerke, and the David Gerke family.
According to Anne's wishes, she was cremated, and her ashes were scattered at her favorite spot for her favorite hobby, birding. Much of her family were present to say goodbye for now. This ceremony was held on Easter Sunday morning, which also was Anne's birthday.