Mary Della Gerner passed away peacefully in the company of her family on May 7, 2021 at Hospice of Laramie, Wyoming.
She is survived by her daughter, Debra Bastian (Christopher), her son Tim McColley (Denise), her step-daughter, Cindy Hoobler (Sid), her step-son, Bob Gerner, her grandchildren, Dax Robinson, Jennifer King, Mary Robinson, Mary Britton Clark, Lacey Phillips, Payton Highsmith, Jillian Nightingale, Jancy Nightingale-Burch, and ten great grandchildren, Landon Robinson, Broden Robinson, Zander King, Illiah Pfau, Tripp Phillips, Emersyn Phillips, Ellisyn Phillips, Aila Clark, Auden Clark, and Ryder Highsmith.
Mary Della was born on October 9, 1934 in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Her parents were Alfred and Vera Hennigh. She had an older sister Evelyn. Upon graduation from High School in 1952, Mary attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequa, Oklahoma. Shortly after graduating with her degree in Business Education, Mary accepted her first teaching position in Minatare, Nebraska.
She met her first husband, J. D. McColley while visiting her sister Evelyn, in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. They were married in 1955. During their marriage both Mary and J. D. taught in a number of towns around Wyoming. Mary was widowed from her first husband while teaching in Medicine Bow, Wyoming.
Mary later met and married her second husband, Donald “Doc” Gerner on May 19, 1984. The two of them lived in Kimball, Nebraska. Mary retired from the Kimball school system in 1996. Mary was passionate about teaching. Many of her students communicated over the years how much they learned from Mary and shared how much she had touched their lives. She delighted in hearing about her former students and their successes.
Mary loved gardening and enjoyed seeing beautiful flowers both in her garden and as arrangements in her home. She also enjoyed quilting. Mary and Don served the youth of Kimball in their retirement as mentors. Mary was a long-time member of the Pine Bluffs Baptist Church. During her membership she taught Sunday school, was involved in children’s church, and served in the nursery. Mary had a servant’s heart. She often volunteered to take people to doctor appointments, take meals to people in need, and help with church events.
The memorial service will be at 3:00 p.m. Saturday May 22, 2021 at Montgomery-Stryker Funeral Home. Graveside services will be held August 14, 2021 at the cemetery in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. Time and details of the graveside services will be announced at a later date.