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In one of the northernmost reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in Ontonagon County near the Lake Superior shoreline, lies a tiny unincorporated community called Ewen. This small corner of the U.P. was originally home to William and Signe Gerber, parents of Sister Irma Gerber.
Ewen started out in the late 1880s as a logging camp, and it was as a logger that William worked until not long after he and Signe married. Signe, for her part, was a secretary for a judge in L’Anse, in nearby Baraga County.
Drawn by the lure of a good-paying job in the nascent automobile industry, the couple and their two oldest children, Bert and Kay, moved to Flint, where George worked for the Durant Motor Company and where Elizabeth (the future Sister Mary Irma) was born on April 30, 1921.
When the Durant Company dissolved, the family moved to Detroit and William went to work for the Chevy Gear and Axle plant in Hamtramck. The Gerbers lived nearby, on the west side of Detroit, and attended the new St. Theresa’s Parish. In time, nine children in all came into the family; after Bert, Kay, and Elizabeth, there were William, Benjamin, Dolores, Margaret, and twins Carol and George.
Read more about Sister Irma (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
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