Geraldine Heller

May 26, 1922August 26, 2011

Geraldine "Gerry" (Hanson) Heller, 89, of Duluth, passed away on Friday, August 26, 2011 at Benedictine Health Center.

Gerry was born on May 26, 1922 to Jarl and Signe (Fayling) Hanson. She grew up in Duluth and graduated from Central High School in 1940. She attended Stephens College and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Architecture. She was married to Robert L. Heller on September 26, 1946 in Hawaii. They moved back to Duluth where Gerry and Bob designed and built their own home before starting to raise their family. Gerry spent many years doing architectural volunteer work with Townview Improvement Corp. as well as designing home improvements for family and friends. Gerry was very involved in activities for UMD as Bob advanced from professor to chancellor. She was a devoted 70+ year member of Pilgrim Congregational Church and was very active in its boards, groups, and choir.

Gerry enjoyed world travel, gardening, and painting. Family was very important to her and she was proud of her Norwegian heritage. She will be remembered for her intelligent, kind and loving nature.

She is preceded in death by her husband Robert and her parents.

Gerry is survived by daughters, Robin (Fred) Maharry of Alta, IA, Kathy (John) Heller-Ostroot of Golden Valley, Nancy (Stuart) Olsen of Duluth; grandchildren, Robert and Emily Maharry, Mara, Molly and Kari Ostroot, Jenna and Laura Olsen; brother David (Mim) Hanson of Golden Valley as well as close cousins, Joan Logan and Jean Swain, and other family members.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Lisa Logan, Senior Friends and Benedictine Safe Harbor for the wonderful care during Gerry’s final years.

Visitation will be held from 10 A.M. until the 11 A.M. funeral service on Thursday, September 1, 2011 at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 2310 East 4th St. with Reverend Charlotte Frantz officiating. A reception will follow the service. Interment will be held in Park Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the UMD Geraldine Hanson Heller Art and Design Scholarship or Pilgrim Congregational Church. To leave a memory of Geraldine or words of support for the family please visit

Arrangements under the direction of Bell Brothers Jarvi Dowd Funeral Home, Duluth, MN.


  • Visitation Thursday, September 1, 2011
  • Funeral Service Thursday, September 1, 2011

Geraldine Heller

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Christa Hughes

September 1, 2011

Robin, Kathy, Nancy and family, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear mother. I can tell by her photo that she was a dear woman with a lot of spunk.
Your distant cousin,

Christa Hughes, Phoenix, AZ

August 30, 2011

We are sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are will each of you. Robin, a special hug to you during this difficult time. We are thinking of you!
Your Friends at Park View Rehabilitation Center (Sac City, IA)

Mary Elaine Seppo

August 30, 2011

I was so sorry to hear about your mom. She was always such a joy when she came into our dental office. Always upbeat and cheerful. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her. You family is in my thoughts and prayers.

June Rabold

August 29, 2011

So sorry to hear about Gerry. I have many fond memories of her kindness and friendship in the years I worked for her.