Gerardene "Gerri" E. Klimek, age 66 of Little Falls, passed away on January 8th, 2022 at St. Gabriel's Hospital with her loving family by her side. A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, January 15th at 11:30 A.M. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Little Falls, MN with Fr. Joe Herzing officiating. The burial will be held in the parish cemetery following the service. A visitation will be held from 3:00-8:00 P.M. on Friday, January 14th at Emblom-Brenny Funeral Home in Little Falls and from 10:00 A.M. until the hour of service at the church on Saturday, January 15th. The Christian Mothers will lead the Pro-Life Rosary at 3:00 P.M. on Friday at the funeral home.
The Service will be livestreamed through the Little Falls Catholic YouTube Page. There you will find a link for the funeral Mass for Gerri Klimek.
Gerri was born on March 6th, 1955 in Little Falls to Paul and Lucy (Pauser) Virnig, the youngest of seven children. She attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and graduated from St. Francis Catholic High School in 1973. After graduating from high school, she attended St. Cloud Technical College receiving her LPN degree and began her nursing career at St. Gabriel's Hospital where she worked on the Medical Surgical Floor for many years. She married the love of her life, Ernest "Ernie" Klimek on October 4th, 1975, The Feast of St. Francis, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Little Falls where she was a lifelong member. Together the couple raised their four children. She pursued further education at Brainerd Community College and St. Scholastica, where she received her RN degree while raising her children and working. Other areas of her career included working as an Occupational Health Nurse and in Risk Case Management at St. Gabriel's Hospital. For five years she also worked for RTW (Workman's Comp Company) in Baxter. Upon returning to St. Gabriel's Hospital, she worked as a Home Care/Hospice Nurse that allowed her to comfort the terminally ill and their families. She truly was a gifted Servant of God! This completed her 40 year nursing career and she retired in 2014. While the family was young, she did sewing, macrame, and also did some traveling. Places they traveled included Florida, Dolly Wood in Pigeon Forge, TN, The Black Hills, The Grotto of The Redemption in West Bend, IA, Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA, Washington, and Oregon. Gerri also went on many pilgrimages with her faith community. Her biggest dream was to be able to see a Pope. She attended World Youth Day in 1993 to Denver, CO to see Pope John Paul II whom she greatly admired; Franciscan Pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy in 2001; World Youth Day in 2016 to Krakow, Poland to visit the birthplace of Pope John Paul II and The Divine Mercy Sanctuary where St. Faustina was laid to rest. During this pilgrimage she also visited Auschwitz and The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Her last pilgrimage was in 2018 to The Holy Land where she felt blessed to have walked in Christ's path. She was very involved with Christian Mothers and the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW). She was also very active in many things church related at Our Lady of Lourdes. She took pride in advocating for the unborn and educating people on alternatives to abortion, and she was an active member of Morrison County's chapter of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) since 1973. She enjoyed gardening and paid for many college books and credits selling raspberries and fresh produce. Gardening and working outside in the flower beds brought her great peace and joy. She had a creative knack and resourcefulness for decorating with earthly beauty. Her home was decorated for every season and every room had religious décor which included crucifixes, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Popes, and angels. She will be remembered for her uplifting personality, beautiful singing voice, cooking big meals, baking, canning, love of antiques and local history, museum visiting, and going on day trips or picnics with family. All of her life she had a great love and devotion to The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Life. She lived her life as a humble Christian Servant of God. Gerri had an unwavering faith in God and dedicated much of her life to her church and faith communities. Gerri treasured her family and friends. She had a special gift of helping others feel loved and heard. She lived her life on earth to the fullest and will be deeply missed by her family, friends and community. May she rest in the peace of Christ.
Left to cherish her memory is her beloved husband of 46 years, Ernie; children, Jessica (Christopher) Schlichting of Melrose, Tamara (Troy) Bellefeuille of Little Falls, Carmille Klimek of Little Falls, Karsten (Julie) Klimek of Baxter; grandchildren, Aryana (Zachary) Schneider, Brock and Cole Chellgren, Jackson and Elijah Schlichting, Ashton, Isaac, Abrian and Braelyn Bellefeuille; siblings, DuWayne Virnig, Roger (Judy) Virnig, Sr. Carol Virnig, Nan Iten, Paul (Cheryl) Virnig, Pat (Butch) Schilling; many other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sister-in-law, Lottie Virnig and brother-in-law, Bob Iten.
Gerri's family would like to thank the nurses, doctors, and staff who all cared for her during her time of need. We are humbled to have witnessed seeing her on the receiving end of all the compassion, grace and care she gave to others throughout her lifetime. We would also like to thank family and friends who have offered prayers, meals, and unconditional support during this difficult time.
Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service is Cherishing the Memory and Celebrating the Life of Gerri. 320-632-4393.