Adele was born on her parents’ farm in rural Whitewater on April 21, 1922, the daughter of the late Walter and Martha (Schmidt) Ludeman. She was baptized as an infant, confirmed in the Lutheran faith in 1936 and married in 1942 by the Rev. Fredrick Loeper at St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church of Whitewater. She attended Island Country School on Hwy 89 for grades 1-8 and graduated as valedictorian of her 1940 Whitewater Public High School class. She attended Whitewater Teachers College, today’s UW Whitewater for one year.
She met Ralph Leslie Gergen, who had just moved from Milwaukee to the Whitewater area with his parents and two sisters in 1939. On January 24, 1942, Adele and Ralph were married in Whitewater and as newlyweds moved to Milwaukee. They moved back to Whitewater in 1945. Ralph passed away on March 8, 1987.
Adele was hired as the secretary for Lincoln Elementary School in Whitewater in June 1969. What started as a 10-month contract, turned into a career lasting 17 years. She enjoyed working with the children, families, and teachers during this time and retired in 1986. She loved music and played oboe in her high school band, participated in school choirs and was a dedicated member of St. John’s Sr. Choir for many years. Her talents as a pianist gave her the opportunity to accompany the singing during the meetings of St. John’s ladies groups.
Over the years, Adele was a member of several local organizations. She served in various offices of these groups to include president and secretary of the local Thursday Meeters, Walworth County Homemakers, the Hi-Los, St. John’s Evening Circle and Ladies Aid. Additionally, she was a clothing leader in the Whitewater 4-H Club for 6 years. Adele loved to bake and cook meals, enjoyed the activities involved with Seniors in the Park, playing cards and dominoes and spending time with family and friends.
Adele is survived by two daughters, Karen (Don) Swartz of Whitewater, Carol (Kent) Zastava of Wisconsin Rapids, daughter-in-law Darlene Gergen, sister Doris Wutke both of Whitewater. She is further survived by 12 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and other relatives and friends. Preceding her in death were her husband Ralph, son Richard, sister Wilma, 3 brothers-in-law and 2 sisters-in-law.
Funeral services will be held at St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church 116 S Church St. Whitewater, WI on Thursday, February 1, at 1 pm. Visitation will be held from noon to time of service at the church.
Memorials may be made to St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church.
Nitardy Funeral Home of Whitewater is assisting the family.