Photography

Geraldine Winnen

April 18, 2022

Obituary

Geraldine passed peacefully just after midnight on April 18, 2022 in Willows Landing in Monticello, MN. A visitation will be held at Rettinger Funeral Home on Sunday April 24, 2022 (12:00 - 3:00 pm). Funeral (Celebration of Life) Service will be held at Messiah United Methodist Church17805 County Road 6 Plymouth, MN 55447 Beginning at 11:00 am. Visitation also 1 hour prior to service at the church.

Geraldine was born to her loving parents Cletus Sweeney and Lilly (Krotzer) Sweeney on June 10, 1938. She grew up with her older sister and two younger sisters, whom she loved dearly. The girls enjoyed playing with their dolls and helping their mother with chores. Gerri was a prayer warrior from a very young age to the end of her life. Gerri was first chair on the clarinet in the school band, until she acquired spinal meningitis at the age of 14. This resulted in life long severe hearing impairment. Her mother drove her to Minneapolis for lip reading classes. Despite her challenges with hearing loss, she graduated with honors from Orono High School in 1956. Geraldine met David Winnen at the age of 15, when he invited her older sister to join him on a date, his good friend, Ronnie came along. Both Gerri and Dave lived by praying and trusting God to guide them. Dave had a dream that he was going with a girl, broke up with a girl, then married another. As it turned out, Shirley and Ronnie got along quite well, so Dave and Shirley broke up and Ronnie and Shirley were married. Dave and Gerri fell in love well, as his dream suggested, they were married on October 25, 1957.

While Dave was off serving as a Marine, Gerri and Dave communicated through letter writing. Gerri expressed concerns about her ability to be a mother and raise children, when she could not hear them. Dave told her that she would learn to hear them, as they learned to speak, which is what happened. Gerri became a mother, when Kimberly Faith was born. Followed by their only son, Mark David, then two more daughters, Lorrie Hope and Dawn Charity. Gerri had one last pregnancy, although this daughter went straight to Heaven without being born. Years later, God brought another daughter into her life, Caryn (Joy). Gerri and Dave enjoyed family camping trips and going to visit and help relatives. They were often known to show up in moments, when someone had been praying for help. Gerri was not the type of guest who was waited upon, rather, she worked (cooking, cleaning, and her favorite, caring for children). She provided love and support for many children over the years through her in-home daycare, watching neighbors, grandchildren and several relatives. Gerri was often viewed as a second mom.

Gerri and Dave left their home of 33 years in Minnetrista and moved to St. James to be near the youngest grandchildren in 2001. Gerri helped care for and spent time with every grandchild! She enjoyed going to her grandchildren's events (sports, music and theater). After developing friendships and walking several miles in the St. James community, they decided it was time to move again. They settled in Big Lake near their daughter, Kim, in 2015. They were able to stroll over for visits and enjoy seeing the great grandchildren in the area. As Gerri's Alzheimer's progressed, they transitioned into Willows Landing in Monticello in August of 2021. The cochlear implant, which Gerri enjoyed having over the last 20 years, proved very helpful in maintaining communication. Although Gerri needed more care and her memories faded, her prayer warrior spirit remained. She was known to grasp someone's hand and pray for the person with deep passion and love. Gerri's legacy cannot be shown in awards or trophies, rather in the hearts and lives of people. Gerri spent hours tracking down relatives, while developing family trees. She was a poet and wrote several songs and poems through the years.

She described the sensation that the words would just come to her and she would stop whatever she was doing and grab a pencil. The words would just flow, as her hand would write. It was Gerri's request that her 5 children would each read one of her poems at the service, as her life is being honored. She is survived by her family: Husband: David Winnen; Children: Kimberly (Thomas) Kickhafer; Mark (Sandi) Winnen; Lorrie (Chris) Evans; Dawn (Steve) Witcraft & Caryn (Joe) Schmit; 13 Grandchildren and 10 Great Grandchildren; Sisters: Shirley, Patricia, Kathleen (Kitty); and several relatives. Memorials can be directed to the family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Geraldine, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Sunday
April 24, 2022

12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Rettinger Funeral Home
425 Lake Street
Long Lake, MN 55356

Visitation
Monday
April 25, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Messiah United Methodist ChurchMessiah United Methodist Church
17805 County Rd 6
Plymouth, MN 55447

Funeral Service
Monday
April 25, 2022

11:00 AM
Messiah United Methodist ChurchMessiah United Methodist Church
17805 County Rd 6
Plymouth, MN 55447

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