|Vivian Gerhardt, 89|
|Written by TRF Times|
Bismarck, N.D. - Vivian Mary (Bulger) Gerhardt, 89, Bismarck, N.D., died?Tuesday, Feb. 28 at St. Gabriel’s Community.
Mass of Christian burial was held Saturday, March 3, at Church of St. Anne, Bismarck, N.D., with the Reverend Paul Eberle presiding.
Born near Stephen, in 1922, Vivian grew up on a farm along the banks of the Tamarack River, the daughter of Laura Caroline (Matton) Bulger and Alfred William Bulger. With her brothers William John Bulger and Gerald Louis Bulger, she swam in the river and explored the woods, developing a life-long love of nature.
Vivian graduated from Stephen High School in 1940 and went on to attend Demming’s Beauty College in Grand Forks, N.D., graduating in March, 1941. It was during that time she met her future husband, Ralph John Gerhardt, at the Hairdresser’s Ball.
Ralph was drafted into the Army and during that time Vivian moved to Portland, Ore., where she worked as a welder in a shipyard to aid in the war effort. She worked the overnight shift for more money and said she was sent into the tightest areas of ships because of her lack of height.
Vivian and Ralph were married Feb. 15, 1944, in Joplin, Mo., where Ralph was stationed. After the war ended, the couple moved to Bismarck, N.D., in 1946 where they had three children, Ron, Susan, and Gary.
Vivian loved to cook and bake, and was known to make the best vegetable soup, cookies, breads, and homemade cake donuts with chocolate frosting. She was loving, kind, gentle, caring, and genuine.
Vivian dedicated her life to her family and her faith. Her home of 43 years on 18th Street was the center of activity, where she raised her children, entertained relatives and friends, and spoiled grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
To know Vivian was to know this: she loved to rise early to swim at the YMCA, sometimes driving across town with a coffee cup or frying pan left accidentally to balance on her car. She would buy gifts so far in advance she would forget where she hid them. Butter and cream were used without spare, with cereal getting a healthy dose of half and half.
She would make chocolate malted milkshakes for her grandchildren late in the afternoon, spoiling well balanced suppers. Her home often smelled like a hair salon, as she experimented with perms and colors. She made quilts and dishtowels for family. Her baby blankets were so beloved they were used by grandchildren to the point they were held together by mere strands of thread.
She laughed easily and often, with blue eyes and a smile that lit up every room she entered. Her height made the bottom of her deep freeze unreachable, so family members never knew what would be found at its bottom. She slept with windows open, listening to the rustle of trees and the chirping of crickets. Though easily lost, she was quick to give directions to others.
She enjoyed reading, curled up in a blanket, on her couch. Sometimes she hid her purse in the oven or dishwasher knowing no intruder would ever look in such obscure places. Vivian loved to shop at Herbergers. One time when informed of a granddaughter’s engagement, she promised to “lose a pound” so she’d more easily fit into her dress at the wedding yet months away. She attended everyone’s birthday party and hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations with tables of food and piles of presents. Vivian enjoyed a good cup of coffee. In life she gave, and rarely took.
She is survived by her sons Ron J. (Joyce), Gary A. (Janet) Gerhardt, and daughter Sue L. (Gary) Bitz, all of Bismarck; eight grandchildren, Tom (Brenna) Gerhardt, Sara (Jason) Gerving, Jim (Heidi) Bitz, Lisa (Jay) Dollinger, Jenny (Aaron) Birst, Kari (Zac) Weis, Patrick Gerhardt, and Sean Gerhardt; 15 great-grandchildren, Micaela, Gabriel, and Riley Gerhardt, Rowan Daugherty, Elliot, Mason, and Logan Bitz, Alyssa and Jillian Dollinger, Wyatt, Tyler, and Jaxon Birst, Maddux and Alex Gerving, and Sophia Weis.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph, and her brother, Jerry.
Go www.eastgatefuneral.com to share memories of Vivian and sign the online guestbook.