HENRIETTA MARY GAHLER, age 101 ½ +1 day of Waseca died on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at her home.
Henrietta was born during the flu epidemic of 1919 and lived to witness the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. She was born June 29, 1919 and was the daughter of former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry M. Gallagher and Maude (Klug) Gallagher.
On June 13, 1938, Henrietta married her Waseca Sacred Heart High School sweetheart, James E. Gahler. So started her career as wife and mother to ten children, numerous foster children, a foreign exchange student and a few stray cats and dogs along the way.
At the Gahler Household, the door was always open, the coffee on and all were welcome. The yard provided a place for picnics, ball games, and car repair while the house smelled of fresh goodies topped off with a jug of root beer. Across the driveway was our version of “social distancing”…Grandma and Grandpa Gallagher’s house. One home was filled with noise, laughter, basement parties and lots of love, and the other filled with peace and quiet, good books, great music, much love and instruction in good manners.
Jim and Henrietta moved into Henrietta’s childhood home after her parents passed away. Here’s where the round table discussions took place over coffee, cold drinks, and always sweets and treats. Mom was a great listener and option giver, topped off with her subtle sense of humor.
After Dad died in 2005, so began a new journey for Mom. Betsy moved home and became her primary caregiver. As her health became frail, the rest of the family joined forces and made the commitment to keep Mom safe and happy at home. The rookie healthcare providers (us children) learned that it was no small task keeping up with her. If the day started with the statement “I’ve been thinking…” beware that a project was in store. She always had a need to stay involved in our lives and we are grateful for those many years God gave us with mom.
Henrietta is preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Maude; sister, Alice Gallagher Toller and her husband Frank Toller; baby brother, Theodore; husband, James Gahler; daughter-in-law, CeCi Gahler; grandsons, John Gahler, Travis Jordan, and Douglas LaMont.
Surviving are her ten children, James, Michael (Sheila), Mary Alice (Dennis) Glynn, Fr. Robert (Michael Hull-Gahler), William (Barbara), Betsy, Dick (Lei), Catherine (Dick) Anderson, Francie LaMont, Maggie Gahler; family foreign exchange student, Guillermo; niece, Judy (Toller) Zylstra; and nephew, Frank “Skip” Toller. She is also survived by 24 grandchildren, 34 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren.
We are grateful for the help from Mankato East Hospice Group. They were there through the good and bad times providing care. Their gracious treatment of mom was wonderful to see. They always kept mom in the mix about her care with respect and kindness. Special thanks to Cindy and Callie.
Henrietta asked us three questions many times a day, especially the past year as her eyesight was bad, along with her hearing. 1. “What time is it?” 2. “Where’s Kitty?” (The family’s 19 year old cat) and 3. “Do you have a hold of me?” For one last time we answer those questions. 1. Mom, it’s time to join your heavenly family. God welcomes you. 2. Kitty is still sleeping by your bedroom doorway. And finally, 3. Mom, we always held you gently but firmly. Now we must let you go. Amen.
Love, Jim, Mike, Mary Alice, Robert, Bill, Betsy, Dick, Catherine, Francie, and Maggie.
P.S. Thanks Jim and Henrietta for being the BPF…Best Parents Ever!
A public visitation will be held on Sunday, January 3, 2021 from 1-3 PM at the State Street Chapel of Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services in Waseca.
A private family funeral mass will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Waseca. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Waseca County.