Ann Katherine Gerke, 80, formerly of La Crosse, passed away surrounded by her family at the home of her son, under the phenomenal care of Black River Memorial Hospice.
Ann was born in Caledonia, Minnesota on December 3, 1940, to James and Genevieve (Mechtel) Scanlon. She was united in marriage to Alfred “Al” Gerke at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse on May 29, 1965. Together the couple raised a family of three children and instilled a motto of “work hard, play hard”. Al preceded her in death on November 7, 2004. Ann worked as a beautician for many years, and enjoyed chatting and connecting with all of her clientele. In her younger years, Ann enjoyed modeling furs and traveling to various places. She enjoyed going to rummage sales and flea markets, where she was known to wheel and deal to get the best price possible. Ann would barter with the best of them, and showed her children and grandchildren “how it was done”. Ann also was an avid gambler- whether it be slots at a casino or a simple roadhouse quarter machine. Ann enjoyed playing the odds while enjoying a brandy & coke. She was fond of reading, birdwatching, planting flowers, and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Years after the passing of Al, Ann reconnected with her high school sweetheart and former fiancé, Paul Anderson. Together they shared laughs and adventures, including many rides on the 4-wheeler. They loved spending time with all of their family, and were especially fond of playing a competitive game of Farkle with Sandy and Keith. Ann loved spending time with her grandchildren, and always ensured that they were well taken care of and protected. Our guardian angel has gone to a new home, but we know that she will always watch over us and continue to protect us in our times of need.
Ann is survived by her son: Derek (Melinda) Gerke of Taylor; daughters: Connie Gerke of Mesquite, NV and Brenda (Tim) Wood of La Crosse; 9 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; sister: Dona Mullen of Palatine, IL; sisters and brothers-in-law: Sandy and Keith Comstock and Shirley and Stan Anderson; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband: Al Gerke; special friend: Paul Anderson; and brothers and sisters-in-law.
In keeping with Ann’s wishes, private family services will be held. The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the nurses and staff with Black River Memorial Hospice. Your care and compassion shown to Ann in her final months is truly the work of angels. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Ann’s honor may be direct to Black River Memorial Hospice. To express condolences to Ann’s family online, please visit

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