May 9, 1926 — November 16, 2018
Lois Leila (Birky) Gerig, a longtime Albany resident, peacefully went home to Jesus on Friday evening, November 16, at her son’s home in Silverton. She was 92 years young. She joined her beloved husband, Irvin, whom she had missed deeply since his passing on September 4 of this year.
Lois was born to Amon Birky and Katie (Troyer) Birky on May 9, 1926, in Shickley, Nebraska, which she described as “A Godforsaken land.” A true middle child, she was the fifth in a family of nine children, two of which tragically never made it past infancy.
She married Irvin Leroy Gerig on June 12, 1947, in Albany.
Being raised on a farm during the Depression, she experienced many challenges which required ingenuity, perseverance and teamwork amongst friends and family. Lois attended all eight years of school in a one-room schoolhouse — District 93 in Shickley. Upon graduating eighth grade, she said, “Now I can forget everything I learned!” She soon realized that there was a lot more to learn than just the “3 Rs.”
Lois’ family moved to Albany in the early 1940s when she was 16 years old. She did many odd jobs in her youth including working as a domestic housemaid. She learned basic woodworking skills building turkey nests. This proved helpful later when she worked alongside her father in his carpentry business building houses and duplexes.
Lois and Irvin met at a salmon fry out at the coast soon after she moved to Oregon. She was working in the kitchen that day (trying to hide from the boys) but Irvin noticed her and their relationship began.
Adored by Irvin, he would tell her how much he appreciated her. Their courtship was filled with church events and other youth activities. Lois and Irvin were married at Fairview Mennonite Church.
Lois and Irvin began their married life in a tiny, one-bedroom “little house,” currently owned by her great-granddaughter. Lois used her skills to create a charming home for them. Eventually they were joined there by their daughter Carolyn. In 1951, they moved to the “Ehrlich house,” where their family grew with additional children, Loren, LuAnn and Lynn. In 1961, they moved to the farm house where they lived out most of their married life. On June 12 of this year, Lois and her husband Irvin celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.
Lois loved her family, and was most fulfilled being a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Throughout her life, she enjoyed wallpapering, painting, cooking, baking, sewing, and quilting. However, her favorite activity was rocking a baby in her lap who with her special touch would fall to sleep. Each grandchild was her “favorite” - they knew it and her favorite Wind Song fragrance will forever be on their minds. Lois’ other fulfillment was her relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was baptized at the age of 12, and lived a Godly life until the day of her death.
She had a big impact on many of the lives she touched. Even toward the end of her life, while she and Irvin were living at Waverly Place, they were favorites and had many visitors.
Lois is survived by children, Carolyn Krabill (Lyle), Loren (Patty), LuAnn Brenneman, and Lynn (Lori); grandchildren, Kristin Smith, Andrea Ylen, Ryan Krabill, Sherilyn Howery, Stephanie Hentze, Casey Brenneman, Michael Gerig, Matthew Gerig, Amanda Brenneman-Brown, Daniel Gerig, Alyssa Gerig, Joshua Gerig, Barbara Joy Gerig, Angela Gerig; 13 great-grandchildren; and her siblings Glen Birky, Faye Claassen, and Stella Schantz.
Aside from her husband, preceding her in death were her parents; brothers, Lester, Dale and Ray; and sisters, Lola and Ella Mae.
A public viewing will be at AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home in Albany on Sunday, November 25, 2018 from 2 to 5 p.m. Services will be held on Monday, November 26, 2018. They will include a public burial at 9 a.m. at Fairview Mennonite Cemetery followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. at New Hope Community Church in Lebanon.
Donations can be made to Living Hope Native Ministries, Door to Grace, or World Challenge through AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home.