Germaine Claire (Gerry) Wood has passed away, just three months after Bob, her beloved husband of 70 years. Dearest wife and mother, long-time lay minister in the Catholic Church, she was 90 years old.
Gerry touched many lives in her 50 years of lay ministry in Albuquerque. She left the world a better place than she found it. She stood for faith, love, service, joy, redemption, and renewal.
Her faith motivated others. She brought people together for a higher purpose. Her workshops and programs were well attended, ennobling, and faith enriching.
“Your mother helped me so much!” “Your mother was there for me in my hour of need.” “Your mother strengthened my faith.” Such comments were a constant refrain heard by her children during her life. We will miss her greatly. There will be an emptiness for all who felt her motherly love, where she was pushing us and rooting for us to be our best self.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe named Gerry the Catechist of the Year in 1992. In 2011 the Archdiocese's Religious Education Office presented Gerry its Distinguished Service Award for Lay Leadership. "Wherever she served, Gerry transformed parishes through catechist formation programs that effectively prepare lay ministers for leadership roles,' according to its publication People of God. Over the years she was DRE at Risen Savior Catholic Community, Sangre de Cristo Catholic Church, Kirtland Air Force Base Catholic Chapel, and St. Bernadette Catholic Church. She and Bob led many Adult Faith Formation workshops through the years, as well. They were eucharistic ministers and devoted members of the Catholic community at large.
Walking the path of the wounded healer, Gerry used her own experiences in life to help others. She understood the renewing power of spiritual community, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18-20). She recruited volunteers like no one else. Her phone trees were legendary.
A life-long learner, Gerry annually took faith formation seminars at many halls of higher learning like Boston College, University of California at Berkeley, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and many others.
She taught her children to learn from life, to have compassion for others, to spread joy, and to make sacrifices for the welfare of all. She taught by example, boycotting grapes and lettuce in solidarity with the United Farmworkers, putting special money aside in Lent for the hungry and the homeless, donating to those in need. She opposed prejudice and championed ecumenicism all her life.
Her favorite holy day was Easter, with its image of the Risen Christ aloft from the crucifix to save the world from suffering.
Gerry was born during the Great Depression on April 18,1933 in Chicopee, Massachusetts. She was 11-years old at a picnic with her father when he drowned, and her world upended. She started work at 12, first babysitting and later delivering jewelry to help support the family. She attended a French convent school, where the nuns wanted her to join the order, but she had other ideas.
The French convent girl met Bob, an Oklahoma cowboy, on a bus in Chicopee. They arranged a first date at the USO at Westover Air Force Base, where Bob was an Airman First Class. They became engaged when Bob was 21 years old and Gerry, almost 20. Despite their true love, the French priest in her church refused to marry them, not because Bob wasn't born Catholic but because he wasn't born French! Luckily, they found a warm reception with the Irish priest in a nearby parish. When Bob’s dad arrived in Chicopee in a Stetson, the children of the French neighborhood would follow him down the street on his daily walks.
Gerry is survived by: Marilyn and Steve Gunn of Albuquerque, Dolores A. Wood of Boston, Thomas P. Wood of Rio Rancho, Stephen R. and Terri Wood of Albuquerque, and Barbara M. Wood of Albuquerque, as well as her five grandchildren: Christopher T. Wood, Kyle R. Wood, Nicole E. Wood, Zachary J. Wood, and Carley M. Higginbotham; and finally, her eight great-grandchildren Ava E. Neis, Nadia M. Wood, Corliss S. Wood, Aleyna Jarmer. Peyton Ruegsegger, Parker M. Higginbotham, Maisley J. Higginbotham, and Monroe J. Higginbotham.
Gerry was predeceased by her mother: Albertine D. L’Heureux (nee Paquette), her father, William P. L’Heureux, and her sister, Bernadette Therrien.
The Rosary for Gerry will be at 10:30 a.m., followed by the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, at Risen Savior Catholic Community, 7701 Wyoming Blvd NE, Albuquerque, N.M. A reception in Marian Gathering Hall will immediately follow.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Bread for the World.