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Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors

1010 Bering Drive, Houston, TX

OBITUARY

Mary Jo Gerland

August 8, 1931August 6, 2019
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Mary Josephine Gerland was born in Richards, Texas, on the 8th of August 1931, to Frances and Stash Walkoviak. She passed peacefully on Tuesday the 6th of August 2019 with her family by her side. She is preceded in death by her husband, A.J. Gerland, Jr., her parents, Stash and Frances Walkoviak, her daughter, Sheryl Ann Gerland, her grandchildren, Kori Gerland and Tye Gerland, her sisters, Irene Walkoviak and Agatha Smith, and her brothers, Jesse and James Walkoviak. Mary Jo was known by her grandchildren as Meme.

Mary Jo was one of seven children raised on their farm in Richards, TX. She often talked about her childhood days of picking cotton, milking cows, and helping harvest their garden. She attended Richards high school and was moved up a grade thereby graduating a year early. She was also voted ‘most beautiful’ and valedictorian of her class. After high school, Mary Jo came to Houston and began working at the power company in downtown Houston. She then met the love of her life, A.J. Gerland, Jr., at Cooks Hoedown Club in Houston, where she loved to dance. Mary Jo and A.J. were married on Valentine’s Day in 1950 at Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church in Anderson, TX. During the first 5 years of their marriage, they had 5 children, and Mary Jo became a full-time mom. A.J. was in the grocery business and founded Gerland's Food Fair. Their children were all raised in the Spring Branch area and worked in their father’s grocery stores while growing up. After the three oldest children were grown, Mary Jo, A.J. and their two youngest children moved to the Memorial area. Mary Jo loved her late husband and family unconditionally and lived her life with grace and dignity. Her generosity to all was never ending. She enjoyed laughing and poking fun with her family and caregivers. She was known by her grandchildren and great grandchildren as Meme and had a very special bond with them. Mary Jo was a dedicated member of St. Cecilia Catholic Church for over 60 years.

She is survived by her four children, James E. Gerland and wife, Melody, Joseph P. Gerland, Dennis K. Gerland, and her daughter, Cynthia G. Harris and husband, Danny. Also surviving are her sisters, Geneva Sicinski and Kathryn Dawson, 10 grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and 6 step great grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are cordially invited to the celebration of life and visitation with the family from Five o’clock until Seven o’clock in the evening on Thursday the 15th of August in The Grand Foyer and Library, with Recitation of the Holy Rosary at Seven o’clock in The Jasek Chapel at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, Houston, TX 77057. A Mass is to be offered at Half past Ten in the morning on Friday the 16th of August at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 11720 Joan of Arc Drive, Houston, TX 77024. Her cousin Reverend Monsignor Adam S. McClosky is officiating and Reverend Francis M. Mocatangay is concelebrating. Reception to follow in the Community Center at the Church. The Rite of Committal is to follow, via police escorted cortege at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston.

Services

  • Celebration of Life and visitation with the Family Thursday, August 15, 2019
  • Holy Rosary Thursday, August 15, 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, August 16, 2019
  • Reception following Funeral Mass in the Community Center Friday, August 16, 2019
  • The Rite of Committal following Reception Friday, August 16, 2019

Memories

Mary Jo Gerland

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Cindy Beach

August 15, 2019

Jim, Jody, Dennis & Cindy thinking of each of you during this difficult time, praying you will each have memories to live on in your hearts and everlasting love of your Mom.

Love to each of you and your families,
Cindy Beach

Sherri Gerland

August 10, 2019

Words cannot express how grateful I am to have been a part of this Family.  I first met Mary Jo when I was just 16, while dating her youngest son, Dennis.  She accepted me as her own and taught me so many things, but also let me know very quickly there was a tight line to be walked in this family.  I remember being in complete awe over watching her juggle her family, cooking and making her house the most incredible home. 

She was beautiful inside and out and handled herself with such grace.  She was funny and loved to instigate a joke or prank.  I have so many memories with her that it is extremely difficult to define just one. 

I too worked in the family business, Gerland’s Food Fair.  I grew up watching AJ and Mary Jo masterfully orchestrating family, business and life in general.  For the next 35 years I would be trained, groomed and molded into my own accomplishments and success.   I will forever remain grateful for the skillset and entrepreneurial spirit that Mary Jo and AJ instilled in me.

Mary Jo was the grandmother of my children and I am so grateful for all her love, compassion and the life lessons given to them. Christmases were full of love, family and gracious giving. Easters were so carefully planned, included exciting egg hunting and even a “golden egg” for the “grown children.”  Thanksgivings were a Monumental Feast full of appreciation and love for her family! Everyone’s birthday was always a special day to MeMe.  She made sure you knew she thought the world of you on your special day! 

Saying goodbye is always difficult but there is comfort knowing she is reuniting with her beloved husband AJ, daughter Sherry, granddaughter Kori and grandson Tye.

All my Love, Thoughts and Prayers to the family and friends of this wonderful woman.

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Biography

Mary Josephine Gerland was born in Richards, Texas, on the 8th of August 1931, to Frances and Stash Walkoviak. She passed peacefully on Tuesday the 6th of August 2019 with her family by her side. She is preceded in death by her husband, A.J. Gerland, Jr., her parents, Stash and Frances Walkoviak, her daughter, Sheryl Ann Gerland, her grandchildren, Kori Gerland and Tye Gerland, her sisters, Irene Walkoviak and Agatha Smith, and her brothers, Jesse and James Walkoviak. Mary Jo was known by her grandchildren as Meme.

Mary Jo was one of seven children raised on their farm in Richards, TX. She often talked about her childhood days of picking cotton, milking cows, and helping harvest their garden. She attended Richards high school and was moved up a grade thereby graduating a year early. She was also voted ‘most beautiful’ and valedictorian of her class. After high school, Mary Jo came to Houston and began working at the power company in downtown Houston. She then met the love of her life, A.J. Gerland, Jr., at Cooks Hoedown Club in Houston, where she loved to dance. Mary Jo and A.J. were married on Valentine’s Day in 1950 at Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church in Anderson, TX. During the first 5 years of their marriage, they had 5 children, and Mary Jo became a full-time mom. A.J. was in the grocery business and founded Gerland's Food Fair. Their children were all raised in the Spring Branch area and worked in their father’s grocery stores while growing up. After the three oldest children were grown, Mary Jo, A.J. and their two youngest children moved to the Memorial area. Mary Jo loved her late husband and family unconditionally and lived her life with grace and dignity. Her generosity to all was never ending. She enjoyed laughing and poking fun with her family and caregivers. She was known by her grandchildren and great grandchildren as Meme and had a very special bond with them. Mary Jo was a dedicated member of St. Cecilia Catholic Church for over 60 years.

She is survived by her four children, James E. Gerland and wife, Melody, Joseph P. Gerland, Dennis K. Gerland, and her daughter, Cynthia G. Harris and husband, Danny. Also surviving are her sisters, Geneva Sicinski and Kathryn Dawson, 10 grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and 6 step great grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are cordially invited to the celebration of life and visitation with the family from Five o’clock until Seven o’clock in the evening on Thursday the 15th of August in The Grand Foyer and Library, with Recitation of the Holy Rosary at Seven o’clock in The Jasek Chapel at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, Houston, TX 77057. A Mass is to be offered at Half past Ten in the morning on Friday the 16th of August at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 11720 Joan of Arc Drive, Houston, TX 77024. Her cousin Reverend Monsignor Adam S. McClosky is officiating and Reverend Francis M. Mocatangay is concelebrating. Reception to follow in the Community Center at the Church. The Rite of Committal is to follow, via police escorted cortege at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston.