Geraldine Lauterbach Wilson

May 31, 1934May 17, 2020

Geraldine was born in Booneville, Iowa on May 31, 1934 at her parents home, and passed away on May 17, 2020 in Urbandale, Iowa. She passed away at age 85. Her parents were Paul F. Lauterbach and Carrie Pritchard Lauterbach. She is survived by: her husband, James A. Wilson; their daughter Carrie Rose Wilson, Carrie's husband Samir Emdanat and grandsons Marcus and Jorge; their daughter Jane Edith Wilson, Jane's husband Gary Lucy, and grandson Preston; their son Timothy Edward Wilson; and her sister Evelyn Lauterbach Clarke. Carrie's family currently resides in Livonia, Michigan. Tim, as well as Jane's family, reside in Los Angeles, California. Geraldine's father was a Chevrolet car dealer in Booneville before moving his family to Des Moines in 1942 at the beginning of World War II, settling in the Beaverdale neighborhood. Geraldine and her older sister, Evelyn, attended Riley Grade School, continuing the grade school education they began in Booneville. Gerry was an outstanding student as a grade school scholar and all through high school. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines in 1952. Gerry had saved all her babysitter money and earnings from working as a file clerk at a large insurance company, so in the fall of 1952 she entered Iowa State College. She excelled at all subjects. After two years she ran out of money and returned to work at the insurance company to earn enough money to complete her degree. Upon returning she declared her major to be Interior Design, studying under department head Marjorie S. Garfield. Very soon Professor Garfield realized she had an excellent student, helping Gerry through her major area to complete her Bachelor of Science within a year, move on to graduate school in the fall of 1956. Geraldine decided to enter the University of Minnesota for her master's studies because it was close to home. The head of the Interior Design program there, Gertrude Esterose, had driven to Iowa State (in a car that was barely roadworthy) to meet Geraldine Lauterbach after a high recommendation from Marj Garfield. Acceptance was fast. After two years of coursework, and her Master of Arts completed, it was time to teach. Minnesota and the now renamed Iowa State University wanted her on staff starting the Fall 1958. During her time as a student at Minnesota, Gerry was employed by University student housing as a residence advisor. Two of her residents were two of three Wilson sisters. They had a brother, James, who they paired with Gerry for a hayride fall of 1957. Gerry and Jim started dating seriously, and they married August 16, 1958. Gerry decided to accept the teaching offer from Iowa State, and the two moved to Ames, Iowa. They lived there for three years, Gerry teaching and Jim finishing his Bachelor's degree in 1961. After graduation, Jim had a job offer that took the couple to Chicago. As she would many times in the years to come, Gerry taught where Jim's job took them. Their two daughters were born in Chicago, and their son in Jacksonville, Illinois. Job transfers and changes took the family to: Indianapolis, Indiana; Georgetown, Delaware; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Lakewood, Ohio; and finally back to Ames, Iowa. Everywhere the family lived, Gerry continued to teach at the college level, as well as practice interior design, completing many projects along the way. Churches, residences, and businesses all benefited from her design talents. Back in Ames, she began to teach once again at Iowa State. Soon after, Drake University offered her a position to head the department of Interior Design and Architecture. At the same time, she opened an interior design and retail business in Des Moines. Retiring from teaching in the early 1990s, she continued to work on smaller interior design and art projects. Unfortunately, as the years passed, Geraldine became less able to walk. She was also was plagued by dementia. Eventually confined to a wheelchair she was admitted to Urbandale Health Care Center in 2016. She received great care. Everyday for the next few years Jim would visit her, bringing treats for breakfast, combing her hair, and passing hours with her each day until COVID-19 kept him from being able to visit due to a quarantine at the Center. Fortunately, Jim was able to join Gerry in her last days, holding her hand, making her smile. She passed on May 17, 2020. She will be forever missed, with much love, by her family and many friends.


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Geraldine Lauterbach Wilson

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Debra Palmer

May 22, 2020

I am so sorry to learn of Gerry's passing - she was a lovely woman.


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