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Formerly of 607 S. Harrison Street, Wilmington, DE 19805
Geraldine M. (McDermott) KowalewskiAugust 6, 1931 ~ December 19, 2017 (age 86)
Geraldine M. McDermott Kowalewski, "Gerry," age 86, passed away on Tuesday, December 19, 2017, surrounded by loved ones.
Gerry was born in Wilmington, Delaware to the late Bernard and Martha (Brady) McDermott. She held many treasured memories, and reminisced often, about her childhood adventures growing up in the McDermott family home on South Franklin Street, the tenth of twelve children. She described their home as a warm and happy place where friends always loved to gather. She graduated from St. Elizabeth’s High School and soon after, married her husband, Edward "Kooch" in 1951. Together, they created a family of four daughters and one son to whom Gerry supremely and tirelessly dedicated herself, in the role of mother and nurturer. She had a keen, sharp intellect, a quick, clever sense of humor, and a discerning mind. In any task or undertaking, her efforts were creative, resourceful, unwavering and perfectiondriven. She had a very kind heart, a generous spirit, a strong faith in God, was quick to smile, and was a "people person," as she used to say. These traits and qualities were the underpinnings of our family life and laid its foundation. Any and all of her children's successes were the inspired product of her, and our father's, character and attributes.
Gerry worked outside the home before starting a family and also after her children were in school, including stints at Hillside House in Wilmington and also for the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales; however, she often reminded us that her career was homemaker, a role and identity that she proudly embraced. She adored her many, many nieces and nephews and delighted in her extended family members. Family meant the world to her.
Anybody who knew Gerry knew that she was always ready to have fun and was quite the entertainer! We have heard that her entertaining nature was nurtured early on when she took tap dancing lessons at the Ace Theater in Wilmington. She had a superb gift with words and language, and became an incredibly talented writer. She wrote stories, poems, and ditties, and never missed a chance to sing one to you, or better yet a crowd, if you let her. Unfortunately, her singing skills never evolved much, though that certainly never stopped her from singing. Unfortunately.
One of Gerry's defining traits was her passion for her pure Irish heritage. It's even been said that she herself had kissed the Blarney Stone. Some of Gerry's favorite experiences included her trips to Ireland with her sisters, and also their trips to Washington state to visit their sister, Helen. She also enjoyed reading, watching movies, crafts, and needlework, but most especially, she enjoyed caring for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. To her, they were the ultimate, and she was right.
Gerry's resolve was tested to the core in recent years as she faced profound health challenges, but not unexpectedly, she faced these setbacks with the same indomitable spirit and resilience that characterized her life; once again, a shining example for her children to emulate. We stand in awe of her. We recognize the genuine blessing of our mother, and are forever grateful to her. Let it be known that she set the bar for motherhood, and that her passing leaves behind an indescribable void in our lives.
Gerry was predeceased by her husband, Edward, her first-born child, Jeanne Cherico, and her great-granddaughter, Hannah Houghton. She was also predeceased by eight beloved sisters: Catherine, Helen, Margaret, Bernice, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Frances and Patricia; and one beloved brother, Bernard "Bud." Gerry always referred to her children as her "crowning jewels." She is survived by four jewels: Anne Maloney (Joseph); Donna DiSalvo (Butch); John Kowalewski, Sr. (Carol); and Barbara Vent (David); nine grandchildren: Amy Cherico Brainard (Matt); Melissa Cherico Daihl (Kyle); Bryan Radcliff; Jennifer DiSalvo; Andrew DiSalvo; Christine Kowalewski; John Kowalewski, Jr.; Amanda Vent Houghton (Andrew) and Katie Vent (fiancé Nolan Kinslow); and two great-grandchildren, Alyssa DiSalvo and Nicholas Daihl. She is also survived by two sisters, Regina Saienni and Barbara Cannon (Joe).
The Kowalewski family extends its sincerest gratitude to the staff and caregivers at Brookdale Hockessin who consistently delivered exceptional, compassionate, loving care. Gerry loved them all. In her very last days, the expertise of the Seasons Hospice care team provided extra comfort in moments when it was most greatly needed.
Visitation will be at Doherty Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Road, Wilmington, DE, 19808, on Wednesday, December 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, Cedar and Clayton Streets, Wilmington, DE, 19805, on Thursday, December 28, at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at All Saints Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Gerry would prefer donations in honor of her daughter, Jeanne, to the American Cancer Society at https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate.html or in honor of her great-granddaughter, Hannah, to the March of Dimes Foundation at https://www.marchofdimes.org/giving/support-general.aspx .
Mom... and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.