Phyllis Darleen (McDuffee) Gerke, 92, Scottsbluff

Phyllis Darleen (McDuffee) Gerke, 92, of Scottsbluff passed away Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at the Residency in Scottsbluff. There will be no funeral services. Memorials in her name may be made to the Ronald McDonald House, 620 S. 38th Street, Omaha, NE, 68105 or to the donor's choice. Jolliffe Funeral Home in Scottsbluff is in charge of the arrangements. Her obituary may be viewed online at www.jolliffefuneralhome.com.

Phyllis was born June 26, 1920 at her parent's farm home in Saunders County, south of Fremont, Nebraska. Her parents were Samuel Asa McDuffee and Agnes Katherine (Christensen) McDuffee. She was baptized, confirmed and married in the Pohocco Lutheran Church near her home. She was educated at Arbor Heights and Mead Consolidated High School in Mead, Nebraska. She completed a two year course of study of the Holy Bible from Los Angeles, CA College. She was a graduate in piano and music theory at the Art Society College in St. Louis, MO. She was a member of Pi Mu National Music Sorority, and a member of the National Musicians Union.

She was always active in musical circles, entertaining at many rest homes, programs and choirs. She was a Sunday School teacher, a bible school teacher, a church organist, and she served her church as coordinator of Christmas programs by the Sunday School students. She taught herself how to play the piano and the accordion, and shared her musical knowledge with many people. Her motto was Matt. 5:16.
On February 26, 1941 she was united in marriage to Howard R. Gerke at her Pohocco Lutheran Church near Fremont, NE. At this time she came to Cheyenne County, Nebraska and the couple resided on his parent's farm at Dalton, Nebraska. She became a member of the Presbyterian Church at Dalton, taking an active role in the music portion as a choir member and organist.

She was honored by several local organizations for her active interest in promoting community affairs: the Senior Citizen Center, the annual fall festival, the Toys for Tots program and willingly sharing her musical talents. She was awarded the Ak-Sar-Ben Good Neighbor Citation and pin, the Lions Club plaque and gift and the Senior Citizens gift and award.

In her retirement years she moved to Scottsbluff where she continued her quest for knowledge at Western Nebraska Community College. During her lifetime she wrote a countless number of songs, she did the transposition for many instruments and did arranging of programs and church choirs.

Her parents, her husband, his parents, her brother and two sisters preceded her in death. She is survived by two nephews and their families.

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