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Category: Obituaries

Keizer’s first police chief passes

Robert J. Thomas
July 4, 1932 – Jan. 28, 2019

R. Thomas

Keizer’s first chief of police, Robert J. Thomas, age 86, passed away peacefully at his home with his family at his side on Jan. 28, 2019.
Robert (Bob) was born in Mt. Angel, on July 4, 1932 to Lawrence and Clara (Schmitz). Thomas and had four sisters and one brother. Bob and his family moved to a farm in Silverton and had several jobs while growing up. He learned to plow behind a horse, bale hay, pick hops, raise pigs, cows and chickens, and had a newspaper route all before graduating high school in 1950. Bob joined the U.S. Air Force at the beginning of the Korean War. He left home for Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) on his mother’s birthday, Aug. 8, 1950. He was stationed at Ent AFB in Colorado Springs, Colo., working as an A.P.E. (Air Police). That is where he met his future wife, Betty Lou Lang. They wed on Feb. 13, 1954, and were married for 65 years.
Bob will always be remembered as a bright, shining light in the various communities and churches he served. He was most proud of being the first police chief of the newly organized city of Keizer. Prior to that he was captain at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. He was a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Grand Knight at both the Salem 5060 Council and Keizer 10594 and 4th degree Assembly 900. Bob was a founding member of St. Edward Catholic Church in Keizer, where he met Rev. Charles Taaffe and together they started the Father Taaffe Foundation to support unwed mothers. He became a long term member of the board while Catholic Community Services took over the program. Bob enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing and woodworking.
He was very proud of his children, Susan (Bill) Ridgway, Ron (Kim) Thomas, and Robert Jr. II (Gina) Thomas, plus seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Melvin, and by two of his own children, Robert Jr. and Brenda Lee.
Funeral services were held Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, 10:30 a.m. at St. Edward Catholic Church in Keizer with Rev. Gary Zezr officiating.
Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service assisted the family.

Jerry McGee mourned

By ERIC A. HOWALD

Of the Keizertimes

UPDATE: There will not be pubic funeral services. A public memorial scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m., at Keizer City Hall.

Husband, father, friend, doctorate-level teacher, mentor, champion of disability rights, author, historian and former Keizer city councilor. Jerry McGee, who passed away Jan. 11 at the age of 85 after a battle with cancer, had more roles in his life than many would consider aspiring to, but he performed them all and collected a vast array of friends on the journey. 

David Johnson, a friend of McGee’s since they attended Washington’s Battle Ground High School, said McGee made sure anyone he encountered didn’t leave a stranger. 

“We’d go on cruises together and every time we had a meal, we had to sit with someone new so he could get to know them,” Johnson said. “He’s always tell them we’d ‘been together’ for 60 years, and then he’d get a smirk on his face.” 

McGee’s tall and lanky figure stood out in most crowds and, if there was a crowd in Keizer, McGee was probably in the thick of it. An educator to the core, he was most likely regaling whatever audience that would listen with stories of Pacific Northwest history. It was a skill he was never afraid to let shine. 

“Jerry was a walking encyclopedia of Oregon’s pioneer past,” said friend Jaqueline Lusk. “There was the time Diane [Monroe] took him on a sternwheeler cruise on the Columbia for his birthday. As the captain gave his historical presentation on the river’s history, Jerry jumped right in to the delight of the passengers, adding his own facts and amusing stories, and pointing out various historical markers. The captain, being a wise man, turned it all over to Jerry’s expertise.”

McGee was born on Oct. 3, 1933 in Battle Ground, Wash., to parents Riley and Lota McGee. His education began in a one-room schoolhouse in Battle Ground and carried him to Clark County Community College, Western Washington University and, eventually, Colorado State College where he earned his doctoral degree in education. 

After graduating from Battle Ground High School, however, McGee took a job as a chucktender during the construction of the Yale Dam near Amboy, Wash., and others throughout the area. Chucktenders were assistants to tunnel-drillers. McGee financed his education with mining work and, years later, wrote about the many characters he met in a fictionalized account titled Whiskey Riley. 

On Sept. 11, 1953, McGee married his wife of 55-years, Shirley Rolling. 

His career in teaching would lead him through many schools’ hallowed halls, but McGee was especially involved with special education students. 

McGee’s second cousin, Ed Zimmerman, who was one of McGee’s first students when he returned to teach at Battle Ground High School, said he only realized how important the special needs students were to McGee in retrospect. 

“He had a ‘different’ student sit in our class a couple of hours each day,” Zimmerman said. 

Zimmerman also credited McGee, a life-long baseball fan and collegiate-level player, for instilling in him a love of baseball. 

“He coached our ninth grade baseball team and a North County community team. He taught us the fundamentals of ‘little ball.’ If one reads Jerry’s book The Lewis River High Scalers and the Dam Kids you will get insights into his baseball philosophy,” Zimmerman said. 

McGee’s teaching career eventually led him to take on advocacy roles within state government pushing for more equal treatment in classrooms and under the law more broadly. His presence in those discussions led him to a 10-year stint as executive director of the Salem’s Fairview State Hospital. 

He retired in the mid-1980s, but, by then, McGee was a regular presence at meetings of the then-new Keizer City Council. McGee was already a past president of the Rotary Club of Keizer, but he was about to step into a much larger arena of community involvement. 

“Jerry steadfastly stood up for his vision for the city and always felt free to share it with the council,” said former city councilor Chet Patterson. 

Former councilor Phil Bay said there were some evenings when McGee asked him to pick up Shirley so she could be there in his stead. 

“He didn’t want to miss anything,” Bay said.

He developed a reputation as a budget hawk during the meetings simply through attendance, but soon his needling pushed sitting officials to the brink. Then-Mayor Bob Newton and Bay told him it was time to put up or shut up.

“One day, I said he should get involved. And he said, ‘By golly, I think I will,’” Bay said. 

McGee was elected to the Keizer City Council in 1991 and served until 2003, he is the longest-serving city councilor to date.

Despite his reputation as a staunch conservative and, at times, exhausting penny counter, the thing most fellow councilors recalled was McGee’s capacity for grace. 

Patterson, who had left the council for a time, returned during McGee’s stint. 

“There again I saw his devotion to Keizer and all things Keizer. While we were not always on the same page on any given issue. Jerry was always very gracious in accepting the vote of the council and then moving on,” Patterson said.

McGee’s time on the council included the most epic council meeting to date, a barn-burner that extended to the wee hours of the morning as the council debated on whether to bring a baseball team to town. 

For the baseball fan in McGee, it must have been a wrenching moment, but he never failed to surprise when he ended up on the losing end of a battle. 

“Jerry opposed the stadium project but was never too proud to admit that the Stadium was very good for Keizer and he was glad he lost that argument,” said Volcanoes’ owner Jerry Walker.  At his retirement from the council, Walker and his wife, Lisa, presented McGee with an official team jacket. 

Former councilor Richard Walsh said McGee taught him the difference between a politician and a statesman, adding that McGee was the epitome of the latter. 

“Jerry taught me that a statesman uses his political power and resources to effectuate positive policies while maintaining relationships. Politicians are concerned with how a policy will affect themselves while a statesman only worries about how the policy will affect others. Jerry was a statesman in all these respects and more,” Walsh said. 

Walsh also got to know McGee as an educator. 

“He took the Boy Scouts from Troop 121 on a trip to his gold mine and taught us all how to prospect for gold,” Walsh said. When
McGee departed the council he gave the sitting councilors a rock from his mine with grains of gold in it “a reminder to always look at the bright spots in every situation and to see value in things that appeared worthless,” Walsh said. 

His lengthy time on the council, also gave him the opportunity to mentor one of the city’s upcoming mayors, Lore Christopher. Christopher’s name was drawn from a bucket when the sitting councilors deadlocked 3-3 to fill a vacant seat. McGee supported Christopher’s opponent, and Christopher wasn’t certain what kind of working relationship would come of the circumstances. 

“The person I feared the most was Councilor McGee, and I even stated that I thought I would never be able to work with him. Councilor McGee turned out to be my closest confidant and mentor,” Christopher said. “This was his nature. Councilor McGee valued every relationship and he worked to maintain and nurture close relationships. For years, I watched Councilor McGee thoughtfully listen and respectfully debate many individuals that he was on the opposite side of an issue with, yet all of those individuals felt supported and listened to.”

During his time as a councilor, McGee sowed the seeds of his next act, Keizer’s unofficial historian. He helped establish the Keizer Points of Interest Committee which has been marking historical sites through the city for almost two decades. Passion projects for McGee included marking the spot where the 45th Parallel crosses River Road North, a spot at the corner of River Road and Chemawa Road that represents the donation land claim of Thomas Dove Keizur, and a statue of Keizur himself outside the Keizer Civic Center. McGee was a regular visitor to Keizer classrooms where he dressed in character as Keizur to deliver enthralling history lessons, and he wrote about the Keizur family’s wagon train trip to the Willamette Valley in a historical novel titled It’s a Long Way to Oregon

On news of McGee’s death and Walsh’s recollection about the gold-veined rocks, Christopher said she found herself reaching for the rock McGee gifted to her and found it alongside inscribed copies of his numerous self-published books. 

“I love reading his books because I knew him so well that I can hear his voice as I read his words. It is a comfort now that we will always have him speaking to us through his books,” Christopher said. 

McGee was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, sons Shawn and Shannon McGee, and sister Shirley Olson. 

He is survived by son Marty McGee; daughters Tammy McGee, Cathy Jordan and  Wendy Hunt; grandchildren Wes Jordan, Brianna Hunt and Ian Hunt; and longtime friend Diane Monroe. 

Troy Franklin Kannier

April 18, 1964 – January 2, 2019

 Troy Franklin Kannier, a wonderful husband and father, dedicated and loyal brother, sincere and caring friend, and really, really great pizza maker passed away Jan. 2. He was 54.

T. Kannier

His spirit is carried on by his wife Trista, sons Hudson and Grayson, siblings Lisa, Lori and Travis, 12 nieces and nephews and an extended family of friends and relations from every walk of life.

A man’s man, Troy was a connoisseur of life, loving great music and great food, strong drinks and easy mornings. Full of common sense, he understood that nothing was over until, well, until it was over. He worked hard and dedicated himself to doing whatever he did in the best way possible, be it father, husband, boss or friend.

To see Troy sit with his unnerving smirk (a thing his friends know well) and watch him watch Trista play with Hudson and Grayson was to observe the inward smile of a contented man; in awe, in love and in the only place he really wanted to be: at home with his family.

While the name, Troy Kannier might not be familiar to many in the Salem−Keizer area, Padington’s Pizza most likely is and if you know Padington’s, you know Troy. He grew up in the family business making pizzas alongside his father, George, eventually fulfilling his dream of becoming a husband, father and small business owner. He did all these with excitement and pride until an unforeseen fork in the road presented itself.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Troy was with glioblastoma brain cancer. Together, Troy and Trista fought the battle in the only way the two of them knew how, with all of the strength, ferocity and courage they could muster. Along the way there have been many days filled with music, sunshine and laughter and there were days with tears that fell like rain. The fight finally came to an end. 

Trista, Hudson and Grayson carry on the legacy of one hell of a man.  The memory of his sparkling eyes, quick smile and wonderful wit will give them comfort in the days to come.  Troy will be missed.

Services were held at St. Joeseph Catholic Church on Saturday, Jan. 12.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Swedish Neuroscience Institute  www.swedishfoundation.org

Katherine Fraser Jackmond

May 11, 1933 – December 17, 2018

On December 17, with family holding her hand, Katherine Fraser Jackmond, a beloved Mom and Grannie, passed away. 

K. Jackmond

Katherine was born and raised in Portland, Ore.,  by parents Bill and Peggy Miller. A graduate of Grant High School and Oregon State University, she was active in Alpha Phi and yearbook with her smiling face in a group photo on the back of the 1952 Beaver. 

In 1955, she married Bryant Jackmond and lived in various cities around the state while Bryant was working his way up in Oregon Department of Transportation. They were married for 61 years and had three children, Chris (Debralee), Patti, and Sandy. She is survived by son Chris and daughter Patti, grandchildren Andrea (her first prize), Westin, Lee, Alex and Alyssa, great-grandchildren Cheyanne, Aidan, Liam, Lilly and Chloe. She is predeceased by her parents, brother Bill, and daughter Sandy. 

Katherine was a recycler before there was the word and was Salem’s Recycler of the Year in 2012. A Master Gardener, devoted bridge player, and singer (Sweet Adelines and church choir) she was also a lifelong learner instilling her passion for nature (4-H Entomology leader) and literature onto her children and grandchildren. She could hear a phrase and break into song. She enjoyed reciting poetry with her animated voice. We all recall The Walrus and the Carpenter. She and Bryant attended plays at the Shakespeare Festival for more than 50 years. She was a volunteer at Salem Hospital and Bush House Auxiliary for more than 20 years and an active member of American Association of University Women.

A trusting and innocent soul with a beautiful smile and kind heart. She loved and was loved by so many nieces, nephews and great friends. 

A celebration of life will be on Saturday, January 5 at 11:00 at Keizer Clear Lake United Methodist Church, 7920 Wheatland Rd., Keizer.. 

 In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Church or Union Gospel Mission. 

Gordon R. Cunningham, DVM

G. Cunningham

Gordon R. Cunningham was born April 17, 1938, in Jewell County, Kansas, the only child of Otie R. and Stella May (Wiley) Cunningham. He graduated from Montrose High School in 1956 and attended Kansas State University where he completed his DVM degree in 1968.

While in college, he married Sheila Nelson and they had two sons.  They divorced in 1976.

Dr. Cunningham practiced in California until purchasing Salem Veterinary Hospital in 1970. He later owned Lancaster Pet Hospital and South Salem Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Cunningham was instrumental in establishing the first after-hours emergency veterinary clinic in Salem.

Dr. Cunningham is
survived by his wife of 34 years, Joanne (Morrow) of Keizer; sons Frank (Jodie) of Happy Valley and David (Bonnie) of Keizer and grandson Kyle. He is also survived by stepson and daughter-in-law Mike and Nicole Morrow of Salem and their sons, Matthew and Nicholas. And he leaves behind his cherished cats, Yogi and Gracie.

At Dr. Cunningham’s request, no services will be held.

Remembrances to Salem Friends of Felines, 980 Commercial St. SE, Salem, OR 97302 or www.sfof.org.  Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

Gracie Miller

Gracie Miller, born May 30, 1944 in Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, died in Keizer, Oregon on December 1, 2018.  Gracie is survived by her husband of 47 years Daniel Miller and their four children, Diana Riddle (Keizer), Jonathan Rushing (Polson, Mont.), Dewayne Rushing (Salem), and Rachelle New (Kansas City, Kan.), 14 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren.  Gracie was a member of the United Church of God, Salem, Oregon congregation.  Gracie’s greatest joy was spending time with and loving her family. Services in the care of Keizer Funeral Chapel, www.keizerchapel.com.

Michael ‘Mike’ James Hart, Jr.: He was one of Keizer’s founding fathers

Jan. 30, 1942 – Nov. 8, 2018

Keizer lost a lion of an advocate last week with the passing of Michael James Hart, Jr.
Hart died Thursday, Nov. 8, at the age of 76. On Friday, Nov. 16, a memorial Recitation of the Rosary will begin at 10 a.m. at St. Edward Church in Keizer followed by funeral mass at 10:30 a.m. Hart will be interred at Willamette National Cemetery.
Hart and his wife, Betty, moved to the area that would become Keizer in 1976. During the next four decades, Hart would be known as a Keizer city councilor, an honored member of the Rotary Club of Keizer, board member of the Boys & Girls Club and the Center for Hope and Safety (formerly The Women’s Crisis Center), a past president of the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club, and an active presence in the Keizer and Salem chambers of commerce. Most recently, Hart was a member of the Keizer Fire Board for more than 11 years, he was succeeded in the role by Betty.
Those who knew him, even tangentially, were never surprised to see Hart decked out in gear from his favorite college football team, the University of Oregon Ducks. He held season tickets for many years and continued attending games until his death. He was also an “owner” in a local Fantasy Basketball League that provided many years of fellowship with his Jaycees, Junior Chamber of Commerce, buddies.

Hart was born to Michael J. Hart and Rosalyn Perkins Hart on Jan. 30, 1942 in Tacoma, Wash. His father was headed for a deployment in the South Pacific with the U.S. Army at the time. Hart’s mother died suddenly of polio when he was 2 years old, and he spent the remainder of his father’s deployment with his paternal grandparents. When his father returned from the war in June 1946, he married Rita Smith and the family grew to include three more boys – Larry, Jim and David – and a sister, Linda.

The family moved to the Portland area when Hart was 10 and deployed to Okinawa together for a year before returning to Tacoma.

Hart graduated from Bellarmine Catholic High School, in Tacoma, in 1960, and enlisted in the Army when he turned 18. He attended boot camp at Ft. Ord in California immediately after graduating.  While in the service, Mike worked in supply at Scofield Barracks on Oahu and reached the rank of sergeant.  He considered making the Army his career but, after three years, he was ready for civilian life.

When he left the Army, Hart moved to Portland where his family had relocated. He worked for a finance company that took him to St. Helens and later to Clatskanie. He left Clatskanie for Salem in early 1970 to work for the Oregon Jaycees as their executive director. He met and married Betty the same year.

In 1976, the Harts bought a home in Keizer.  When Keizer became an incorporated city, Hart ran for the original city council. He came in seventh and was appointed to the city council a few months later when it was expanded from five to seven members.  He served on the council for ten years.  In the late 1990s, Hart became involved with the Keizer Fire District, serving first on a long-range planning committee for the district then running for its board of directors. He remained a longtime advocate for the fire district and its employees.  After leaving the Oregon Jaycees, Mike worked in sales, mostly at various radio stations, ending his career at KBZY in 2004.

In addition to his other roles within the area’s community, Hart served as executive director for the Salem Softball Association in the early 1980s, volunteered for The United Way, as an umpire for Little League and was an active supporter of Girl Scouts of America.

Among the most notable honors Hart received for his work were: recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow for his efforts with Keizer’s Rotarians; being named Junior First Citizen by the Salem Jaycees and one of five Outstanding Young Men of Oregon; recognition by the U.S. Jaycees with the Seiji Horiuchi Memorial Award, given to outstanding state chairman; designation as Junior Chamber International Senate #23396 for his dedication and contributions to the community and the Jaycee organization.

In the spring of 2006, Hart became ill and needed more help than Betty could provide at home.  He moved into a foster care home in Keizer operated by Sweet Bye N Bye.  He lived there until April 2014 when he moved into residential care facility operated by the same company. Family members thanked Sweet Bye N Bye for the love and care they provided to Hart for so many years.

His parents and his sister, Linda, preceded Hart in death. He is survived by his wife, Betty, his brothers Larry of Woodburn, Jim (Joyce) of Eugene, Dave of Wilsonville, his aunt, Jean Volz, of Portland,

Joyce Graham

J. Graham

Feb. 15, 1936  – Oct. 19, 2018

Joyce Graham passed away peacefully on Oct. 19, 2018, in Keizer, Ore.

Joyce was born to John Graham and Mary Jeanette Graham on Feb. 15, 1936, in Milwaukee, Wis. Her family relocated to Pocatello, Idaho, where she graduated high school. She married Wallace Llamar Jensen in April 1959. They were later divorced. Joyce relocated to Oregon where she lived the rest of her days.

Joyce is survived by her brother, John Robert Graham; sons, Jerry (Deanna) Jensen and Scott Graham; daughter, Mary (Jeff) Wakley as well as grandchildren Mandy Popejoy, Lonnie Jensen, Randi (Kevin) Neilson, Karly Vreeland, Chris Edwards, Cody (Alain) Edwards and Cierra Graham and great-grandchildren Talise, Skyler, Dezirae, Tyler, Rayse, Leighton, Summer, Nikya, Kevin, Leena, and Morgan.

She was preceded in death by her father, mother and brother, Joseph “Pete” Graham.

She was laid to rest on Oct. 25, 2018, at Claggett Cemetery in Keizer, OR.

Charles C. London, Jr.

September 14, 1942 – September 16, 2018

Charles C. London Jr. died unexpectedly in Keizer on September 16, 2018, at the age of 76.

Charles is survived by his wife of 47 years Susan; his daughters, Tricia and her husband Ray, Simone, and Melissa and her husband Jeremy; his grandchildren Cassie, Heather, Anne, Sebastion, Michelle, Elijah, Ashlie, Tyler, and Avery; and his great grandchildren Theodore and Liana. He is preceded in death by his parents Charles and Celestine London; his brother Dennis London, his sister Sherry Pryor, and his granddaughter Danielle Busby.

Charles was born on September 14, 1942, in Modesto, Calif. to Charles and Celestine London. He graduated from Los Banos High School in 1960 and was drafted into the Army in 1964. During his term of service, he spent two and a half years as a combat medic in Vietnam.  Before coming home, Charles received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and an air medal with 86 clusters.

Charles married Susan on July 3, 1971, in Reno, Nev. The couple moved to Oxnard, Calif., in 1972 where he returned to college and worked as an armed patrolman for a local security company.  Later, Charles worked as a union shingler.  After a move to Prairie City, Ore., in 1979, he worked for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff in the jail.  Charles retired in 2005, as a correctional corporal. In addition, Charles served as a reserve police officer for the Prairie City Police Department for 15 year and spent his few extra hours volunteering with the Grant County Ambulance Service and SABRA (Society Against Battery Rape and Abuse). Charles and Susan moved to Keizer in 2007 to be closer to their daughters and grandchildren. 

Charles raised his daughters to believe they could accomplish anything they set their minds to.  He was incredibly proud of all of them and who they have become. He was always there to listen, console, give an encouraging word, or to help set them straight if they were going the wrong direction.

Charles was an avid reader, hunter, marksman and a member of BPOE (Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks) for more than 35 years.

An interment, with full military honors, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. A casual reception at Ringo’s Tavern (4170 River Rd N, Keizer, OR 97303) will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, beginning at 4 p.m.  All are welcome to attend and celebrate Charles’ life.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Make a Wish Foundation of Oregon or to a charity of your choice. Condolences can be sent to:  http://memorialwebsites.legacy.com/Charles-C-London-JR/homepage.aspx . The family would like to thank the Keizer Fire Department and Salem Hospital for their efforts and care.

Geri Patricia Swope Casterline

Sept. 26, 1922—Sept. 15, 2018

Geri Patricia  Swope Casterline passed away peacefully on Sept. 15, 2018.

Geri was born in Seattle, Wash., to Joseph and Rina Finch. She was the youngest of three daughters.

Her mother passed away when she was only 2 years old. The girls were raised by their aunt.

The family moved to Spokane, Wash., when she was 14. As teenagers, Geri and her sisters were involved in the local church, where she led worship and spoke on occasion. She began feeling the tug of God on her heart for Gospel ministry.

G. Casterline

It was at a city-wide meeting when she was playing her saxophone that Bob Swope, a medic in the Army first laid his eyes on the beautiful Geri. They became causal friends, later he was shipped out overseas.

Geri’s life kept moving forward.  She found herself at Bible School in Springfield, Mo. She worked part-time for the Gospel Publishing House.  It was in those two years of school that she found an increased fondness for writing.  One of her classes decided to hold a writing contest, where Geri won second place. It was at that moment she was noticed by the Gospel Publishing House, which kickstarted her career in writing and editing. Geri wrote multiple stories for many of the Assemblies of God national magazines. She also had an article published in Pentecostal Testimony, which is Canada’s national magazine.
The three sisters loved singing and were asked to sing on the very first Revivaltime radio broadcast.

Geri ended up back in Spokane, Wash., and was dating Bob while he finished up at Northwest Bible College in Kirkland, Wash. One Wednesday she called Bob and told him she had decided she would marry him and on Saturday. Without missing a beat he grabbed his suitcase and the rest is history.
Their lives together forever changed when they were asked to take a church in Brooks, Ore.  There they spent 42 wonderful years serving as lead pastors.  During that time they had a son, Bob, and a daughter, Kelle. Geri worked for the Assemblies of God district office as secretary for five Superintendents, five state youth leaders plus doing the editing of the Forward, the state church magazine, all the while continuing her full time role as pastor’s wife and mom. Geri was a gifted speaker and was asked to speak at various church functions, the Union Gospel Mission being one of her favorites.

In 2004 her beloved husband of 55 years passed away. This was quite an adjustment and time of loneliness. After a time Geri and their family doctor connected and a new love began. They had a large church wedding and had several happy years together.

Geri’s life is a document of God’s love and faithfulness. She was the best mother and grandmother her family could ask for. She always chose to see the blessing and to give thanks in the good and the bad.  As she wrote, her life goal was, “to stay vibrantly alive, winning souls, until Jesus comes.”  We can all say Geri fulfilled her life goal until the very end.

Geri was preceded in death by her son Bob Swope. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Vernon Casterline, daughter, Kelle Schott, husband Craig, her daughter-in-law, Mary, five grandkids and nine great grandkids.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Life Spring Church on Oct. 20, at 11 a.m., 9165 Portland Rd. NE, Brooks, OR 97305. Private interment Willamette National Cemetery. Arrangements by Restlawn Funeral Home.