OBITUARY

Azucena Jalipa Gehring

November 5, 1950June 28, 2018
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For the last 45 years, Azucena “Susie” Gehring committed herself to a life of servant leadership by always giving to others without ever a need for anything in return. Her journey started in 1973 when she immigrated to St. Louis, Missouri from Ormoc, Leyte, Philippines in 1973 to continue her education. Within a year, she graduated from Southern Illinois University (SIU) in 1974 with her first Master’s degree in Education and embarked on a career serving the United States as a soldier, officer, and government servant. After graduating from SIU, she commissioned in the US Army with the Medical Corps and, within a year, became the first Filipina Signals Officer, following the long tradition of female leaders from the Women’s Army Corps. In 1978, she received a second Master’s degree in Instruction Systems Design from SIU and continued her work in designing early childhood education systems that paved the way for today’s special education curriculum.

After fourteen years of active duty service in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Carson, Colorado, Seneca Army Depot, New York, and Camp Humphreys, Seoul, Korea, she continued her military career as an Army Reservist from 1987 to 1994. She continued to serve the military family as a government servant in the field of early childhood education in Würzburg and Heidelberg, Germany, and Fort Myer, Virginia until medically retiring in 2004.

In 2005, she joined the Filipino-American Association of Stafford, Virginia (FAASV) and became a pillar of the Filipino community of Stafford, Virginia ever since. For the last 13 years, she served the last 11 years as an Executive Officer and Advisor, to include one term as Vice President (2007-2009), two terms as President (2009-2011 and 2013-2015), and two terms as Advisor (2011-2013 and 2015-2018). In addition, she participated and/or led every community service event for over 500 hours in 100 community service events, such as Feed the Homeless, Adopt-a-Highway cleanup on Rt. 610 in Stafford, coordinating and giving Thanksgiving baskets to needy families, Christmas holiday caroling, and the FAASV Scholarship Program.

Even though she was a sister in a family of five, a mother of three, and a grandmother of three, she opened her arms to those most in need physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and always made the community a part of her family. She always valued other people’s opinions, yet was strong enough to keep her own. She was a trusted colleague, confidante, friend, and leader for many, which inspired and empowered even the most timid to rise above and become leaders with her as their guide. Always putting others before herself, she was often sought out for her wisdom and trusting nature to encourage others to be at their best and never thinks of “me”, but instead “we” always thinking of her family and the community first. Her strength, wisdom, and selflessness was and will continue to be an inspiration to all those who know her. She was an amazing mother, consummate servant leader, and an angel until the very end and beyond. May God bless her soul in the same way she blessed all the lives she touched.

Services

  • Visitation Monday, July 9, 2018
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, July 10, 2018
REMEMBERING

Azucena Jalipa Gehring

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Biography

For the last 45 years, Azucena “Susie” Gehring committed herself to a life of servant leadership by always giving to others without ever a need for anything in return. Her journey started in 1973 when she immigrated to St. Louis, Missouri from Ormoc, Leyte, Philippines in 1973 to continue her education. Within a year, she graduated from Southern Illinois University (SIU) in 1974 with her first Master’s degree in Education and embarked on a career serving the United States as a soldier, officer, and government servant. After graduating from SIU, she commissioned in the US Army with the Medical Corps and, within a year, became the first Filipina Signals Officer, following the long tradition of female leaders from the Women’s Army Corps. In 1978, she received a second Master’s degree in Instruction Systems Design from SIU and continued her work in designing early childhood education systems that paved the way for today’s special education curriculum.

After fourteen years of active duty service in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Carson, Colorado, Seneca Army Depot, New York, and Camp Humphreys, Seoul, Korea, she continued her military career as an Army Reservist from 1987 to 1994. She continued to serve the military family as a government servant in the field of early childhood education in Würzburg and Heidelberg, Germany, and Fort Myer, Virginia until medically retiring in 2004.

In 2005, she joined the Filipino-American Association of Stafford, Virginia (FAASV) and became a pillar of the Filipino community of Stafford, Virginia ever since. For the last 13 years, she served the last 11 years as an Executive Officer and Advisor, to include one term as Vice President (2007-2009), two terms as President (2009-2011 and 2013-2015), and two terms as Advisor (2011-2013 and 2015-2018). In addition, she participated and/or led every community service event for over 500 hours in 100 community service events, such as Feed the Homeless, Adopt-a-Highway cleanup on Rt. 610 in Stafford, coordinating and giving Thanksgiving baskets to needy families, Christmas holiday caroling, and the FAASV Scholarship Program.

Even though she was a sister in a family of five, a mother of three, and a grandmother of three, she opened her arms to those most in need physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and always made the community a part of her family. She always valued other people’s opinions, yet was strong enough to keep her own. She was a trusted colleague, confidante, friend, and leader for many, which inspired and empowered even the most timid to rise above and become leaders with her as their guide. Always putting others before herself, she was often sought out for her wisdom and trusting nature to encourage others to be at their best and never thinks of “me”, but instead “we” always thinking of her family and the community first. Her strength, wisdom, and selflessness was and will continue to be an inspiration to all those who know her. She was an amazing mother, consummate servant leader, and an angel until the very end and beyond. May God bless her soul in the same way she blessed all the lives she touched.