Geraldine “Gerry” Tenta, 81, of Elburn, passed away at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva surrounded by the love and prayers of her family.
She was born on Feb. 26, 1930, in Chicago, the daughter of Richard J. and Clara (Helgersen) Martinson.
Gerry grew up on the south side of Chicago and attended local schools. Following her graduation from Fenger High School in 1948, she worked for several local businesses.
Gerry was united in marriage to Joseph F. Tenta in Chicago.
They were blessed with three daughters, Dianna, Carol and Theresa, who were the pride and joy of their mother. Gerry was blessed with an independent spirit, strong work ethic and dedication that was second to none. She needed every ounce of her blessings to raise her daughters on her own, making sure they had what they needed and all the love they could take.
While raising her girls, Gerry worked as head cashier at Zayre for many years and later worked as bookkeeper for Tuthill Corporation, a local pump and pipe manufacturer who named NASA as one of its customers.
Gerry was a proud member of the Elburn and Batavia Seniors as well as the Scarlet Fox Chapter of the Red Hat Society. She loved to participate in all the activities alongside her friends at the Meadows Apartments, where she made her home. Day trips to the casino always brought a smile to her face.
Gerry had an artistic eye and hands built for crafts making ceramics and jewelry that have now become “priceless.” Gerry also had a “love affair” with food. Although she was diabetic, she rose above it all and made masterpieces in the kitchen culled from all the “cut out” recipes and the myriad of cookbooks that lined her shelves.
Gerry also was an avid reader, escaping into other worlds until the story’s end at which time she opened yet another and escaped once again. When she wasn’t reading, she kept her mind agile playing Sudoku and reliving her travels with her family and friends.
Gerry always bragged about her children and grandchildren, the latter numbering eight.
She also adored her 15 great-grandchildren. Gerry was very proud of her inner strength and the obstacles she overcame during her life. Although cancer ultimately won the war, it was Gerry who won 20 years of battles, and that was a badge of honor that she wore with immense pride. The memories she made become the legacy she leaves and although now gone, she lives on in the hearts of all she loved.
She is survived by her three daughters, Dianna Tenta of Thayer, Ind., Carol (John) Blank of Frankfort, Ill., and Theresa (Mark) Shoup of Elburn; eight grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, Dawn (Glen) Mongold and their children, Erin, Michael and Matthew, of Stephens City, Va.; Michelle (Dave) Laurinaitis and their daughter, Lucy, of Mokena, Ill.; Crystal (Chris) Bryan of Unionville, Tenn.; Daniel (Dianna) Schramm and their children, Daniel Jr., Jake, Breanna, Kole, Carly, and Lilli of Odenville, Ala.; Robert (Stevi) Schramm and their children, Mason, Chloe, and Eva, of Connorsville, Ind.; Lisa Petersen and her children, Kaleb and Rylie of Frankfort, Ill.; Kirsten Shoup and Tyler Shoup, both of Elburn; two siblings, Marlene Sojka of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and James (Irene) Martinson of Tinley Park, Ill.; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a family of friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents.
Visitation will be from 1 to 3p.m., with a memorial service to celebrate her life to follow on Saturday, July 16, at the Meadows Apartments in their Common Room, 318 Dempsy Drive, Elburn. Private family interment will follow at a later date.
A memorial has been established in her name to benefit the American Cancer Society. Checks may be made to the “Geraldine Tenta Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.