American Patriotic 10

       


Gerard Walter Gottula

October 15, 1920 ~ April 2, 2018 (age 97)
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Gerard Walter Gottula, Sr. was the first born of Samuel & Florence (Sacher) Gottula on the family farm 2 miles east of Steinauer, NE on October 15, 1920.  He was the eldest of 11 children.  He passed away on April 2, 2018 with his daughter Ruth and wife Phyllis by his side.  He was known by many names including Gerard, Gerry, G.W. and of course dad and grandpa. 

Gerard attended the Cold Point country school during his elementary years and graduated from Steinauer High School in 1939.  After high school he lived in Omaha, at a boarding house, where he learned the metal smith trade.

Gerard met his future wife Phyllis Neu at the Music Box (dance hall) in Omaha.  He asked her if she could dance the Vienna Walz and she said yes, so off to the dance floor they went.  That was the beginning of a relationship that resulted in a marriage lasting over 72 yrs. with 11 children.

Gerard was conscripted into the Navy on July 21, 1944.  He first was stationed at Great Lakes, IL where he was schooled for his service trade of Aviation Metalsmith.  He then was transferred to Jacksonville, FL.  Phyllis took the train to visit Gerard in Jacksonville to see if marriage is what he had in mind.  Before agreeing, Gerard wrote her mother a letter asking for her approval to marry her daughter saying he would take very good care of her.  The family has Gerard’s original letter and he’s taking it with him on his journey.

Gerard and Phyllis were united in marriage on June 1, 1945 in a very small ceremony by the chaplain at the Jacksonville Naval Base.  Upon his discharge in the fall of 1946 they settled into their home in Steinauer where they raised their large family.  This house was formerly Gerard’s paternal grandfather’s home.  It is located across the street from St Anthony’s Catholic Church of which he was a lifelong member.  

Gerard’s career was as a wholesale rep for various municipal utility supply companies and he worked until the age of 80.  He also was a licensed electrician and a collector of any good bargain he could find at the local auctions.  Gerard was an avid gardener, having multiple vegetable gardens and fruit orchards to feed his large brood.  That brood also supplied free labor doing a lot of weeding, watering and picking fruits and vegetables.

The first three children were sons.  The fourth was another boy.  By that time Gerard & Phyllis were running out of names so they called him Gerard Jr.   Their fifth child was also a boy and now they had enough children for a basketball team.  They then successfully added daughters to the family gene pool and two more sons.  By the time they ended they were 1 shy of a dozen. 

Gerard is survived by his wife Phyllis (Neu) of 72 yrs, his children, Steve (Cheri), Rod, Gerard Jr/Curly (Sheri), Mark (Ellie), Ruth (Don), Roger, Sharon and Julie; sisters, Bernadette (Don), Dolores, Ethelreda, Mary, Josie, Rosie (Denis),15 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a son, Gregory, daughter, Susan; grandson, Erik Madison; granddaughter, Jill Gottula; sister-in-laws, Ruth Neu & Dorothe Brandl (on his wife’s side); daughter-in-law, Darlene; parents, Samuel and Florence; brothers, Zeno, Justin and Paul; sister Theoda (Toby); and multiple in-laws on his side.  

Private family burial at St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Steinauer, Nebraska. 

A Celebration of Life with a Memorial Mass will be held later in the summer of 2018.

Memorials to Premier Estates Music Fund, Pawnee City, Nebraska.

Online condolences may be left at www.wherrymortuary.com.

 

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