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Joan R. Gerken
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Obituary for Joan R. Gerken

Joan R. Gerken (nee Nemmers), age 91, a resident of Villa St. Benedict in Lisle, IL, a former resident of Naperville, IL from 1965-2013, passed away on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at Edward Hospital in Naperville. She was born November 2, 1926 in LaMotte, IA.

Beloved wife of the late Adrian J. Gerken, whom she married on January 6, 1949 and who preceded her in death on May 15, 2003, loving mother of Kurt (Kay) Gerken of Batavia, IL, Nick (Jolene) Gerken of Bradenton, FL and John (Jean) Gerken of Naperville, adored grandmother of Michelle Gerken, Julie (Colin) Rueb, Katlyn Gerken, Sarah Gerken and Carolyn Gerken, devoted daughter of the late Nicholas J. and Rose (nee Beringer) Nemmers, dear sister of Dr. Roger J. (Elizabeth “Liz”) Nemmers of Dubuque, IA, Carol (the late Robert) Bertsch of Omaha, NE and the late Ruth A. (the late Stanley) Miroyannis, the late Glenn (the late Mary) Nemmers and the late Harriet (the late Dr. James) McKay, sister-in-law of William “Bill” (Donna) Gerken of Farley, IA and Ewald (the late Beth) Gerken of Cascade, IA, fond cousin, aunt, great-aunt and friend to many.

Joan grew up in LaMotte, IA, a small farming community south of Dubuque. The family later moved to Dubuque during World War II, where Joan graduated from Dubuque Senior High School in 1944.

After one year at Clarke College in Dubuque she worked for the Dubuque Board of Education, and while at a Valentine’s Day dance, met Adrian “AJ” Gerken. They were married and lived in Dubuque for 13 years, until a job change brought their family to the Quad Cities and then to Naperville in 1965.

After their boys were raised, Joan went to work for Amurol Products Company (a division of Wrigley Gum) on Chicago Ave. in Naperville, where she was the receptionist for 11 years, retiring in 1986.

Not wanting to retire completely, she learned how to transcribe books for the blind, eventually becoming President of the Naperville Area Transcribers for the Blind. Joan also did some transcribing for the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. Her name is listed in the Library of Congress as a Certified Transcriber for the Blind.

After AJ passed away, Joan stayed in her home until she didn’t want the yard work any longer. When she started to have difficulty with her own sight, she moved into Benedale, the Assisted Living community at Villa St. Benedict in Lisle, IL in 2013, where she enjoyed her last few years, and was loved by all.

Visitation Saturday, April 21, 2018, 9:30 - 11:00 AM in the Sacred Heart Monastery Chapel at Villa St. Benedict, 1920 Maple Ave., Lisle.

A Mass of Christian Burial will follow Saturday, 11:00 AM in the Sacred Heart Monastery Chapel.

Interment: SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery, Naperville, IL.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joan’s memory may be made to:

Benedictine Sisters of the Sacred Heart, 1910 Maple Ave., Lisle, IL 60532, (630) 725-6000,


Saints Peter and Paul School, 201 E. Franklin Ave., Naperville, IL 60540, (630) 355-0113,

Arrangements by Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Naperville, IL.

For more information, please call (630) 355-0213.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Joan R. Gerken, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Monastery Chapel

1910 Maple Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532





11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Monastery Chapel

1910 Maple Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532

Cemetery Details


SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery

701 North Ave
Naperville, Illinois 60540

Memorial Contribution

Saints Peter and Paul School

201 E. Franklin Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540

Benedictine Sisters of the Sacred Heart

1910 Maple Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532

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