Geraldine “Geri” Leonhardt
Geraldine “Geri” Leonhardt, age 76, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and the matriarch of the River’s Edge Resort, passed away on Tuesday, January, 24, 2017 in the presence of her husband and two children at St. Clare’s Hospital in Baraboo, WI following a brief battle with leukemia.
A Memorial Funeral Service will be held on February 4, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at the Picha Funeral Home in Lake Delton, WI. Visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m. until the time of the service at 4:00. A “Celebration of Life, Get Together” will be held at the River’s Edge Pub and Grub following.
Born Geraldine Marie Klamra in Milwaukee, WI, Geri was the first of three daughters to Barney and Josie (Calabrese) Klamra. At age 15, Geri, often compared to the actress, Suzanne Pleshette, caught the eye of Dennis Leonhardt at the Christian Center, a local hangout. Dennis, not a fully licensed driver, soon began making covert trips to her home, bringing bread from his job at the bakery in an effort to win over his future in-laws.
A Milwaukee wedding and two children, Deb and Dennis Jr. (Botch), soon followed.
Dennis and Geri, both employed by Allen-Bradley, where Geri’s register was never off by more than a nickel, traded in the family’s home for a four-unit apartment building. They used the building along with a loan to purchase the River’s Edge Resort in 1973. Geri took care of the resort’s finances and room reservations, bartended and cleaned rooms. While Dennis earned the moniker “Big Boss” everyone knew who really ran the River’s Edge. Geri used to say: “Do you want to talk to the boss or do you want to talk to someone who knows what is going on?”
In 2004, Geri retired a year after her husband, leaving more time for cherished trips to the casino and Las Vegas with Deb. She also crocheted everyone in the family a blanket. The hostess of holiday meals for decades, the family fought over who got to take home the leftover mashed potatoes, cucumber salad and the stuffing. Father and son hid bowls of split pea soup from each other. Geri also made her daughter’s clothes (including a lime green prom dress), put up with endless pranks and ribbing from her husband and, for some reason that can’t be explained, took three of her often-fighting, grandkids on more than one vacation.
When asked how he’d describe his wife, Dennis simply said, “WOW”.
Geri will be missed greatly by Dennis, her loving husband of nearly 58 years; her daughter, Deb (Mike) Polubinsky; her son, Botch (Dionne) Leonhardt; her sisters, Marilyn (Gill) Gorz and Judi (Kenneth) Belter; her grandchildren, Jason Preissel, Mike Polubinsky, Andy Polubinsky, Nicole (Dimitri) Kalantzis and Sasha Trush; her great grandson, Parker as well as her many nieces and nephews.
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