Joan Sullivan Gereg, 93, mother, grandmother, aunt, nurse, teacher, and world traveler passed away at home on December 30, 2018, surrounded by her family, who will always remember “Mimi” as unwaveringly positive, patient, and an intellectual. She was never one to pass up a New York Times crossword puzzle and was a master of trivia. She happily unwrapped the Sunday paper for three sections only: the book review, travel section, and the crossword puzzle.
Mrs Gereg was born in Chicago to Daniel and Anna Sullivan and earned a bachelor degree in nursing at St Xavier University.
Through mutual friends she visited in Connecticut, she met Peter Gereg and relocated to Danbury. She worked at Danbury Hospital as a staff nurse, supervisor, and educator in the school of nursing.
They married in 1952, made their home in Brookfield, and started a family, which grew to six children. Mrs Gereg became a school nurse at Brookfield High School. That environment inspired her to become a teacher. So, despite having six young children and a full time career, she went to school at night to pursue another degree. In the end, she would earn two master’s degrees and a sixth year. She was bilingual, having learned Spanish, and also studied Esperanto and French.
She worked many years in the Brookfield school system, teaching students of various ages and abilities. Her last assignment was a transfer from the high school to the preschool program. While it was a big leap, Mrs Gereg took to the new job enthusiastically and enjoyed many years working with wonderful staff and families, encouraging youngsters to reach their potential, whatever that may be.
She retired at age 75, which allowed her more time for family and travel. Bitten by the travel bug when her daughter, Marcella, studied abroad in France, Mrs Gereg went on to see the world on various trips with her children, including Russia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, Spain, Ireland, and numerous cruises to various destinations.
She was an avid reader and belonged to The Friends of the Brookfield Library. She spent many happy days reading a good book in a faraway place.
Mrs Gereg enjoyed her growing family, including her 16 grandchildren. She was not only a loving grandmother, but a mentor and guide as the grandchildren grew into young adults.
She was predeceased by her brother, John, and daughter, Marcella, and is survived by her husband, Peter; son, Pete, and wife, Karen, of Brookfield; son-in-law, Geoffrey Brayton of Middlefield; and daughters, Joan Ellen Gereg of Sandy Hook, Diane Lawrence and husband, Jonathan, of Newtown, Marita Gereg of Farmington, and Patrice Fahey and husband, Thomas, of Newtown. She will also be greatly missed by her grandchildren, Catherine and Mae Gereg; Emmett and Spencer Brayton; Ian, Kim-Li, Joanelle, and Kevin Tran; Daniel, Caroline, and David Lawrence; Alec and Gillian Gereg; and Evelyn, Sean, and Shaylyn Fahey. Joan left many friends behind, including family friend Carol Stiff and caregivers Tereza Pereira, Nery Barriga, and Laura Barriga. She appreciated and loved them all.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Friday, January 4, 2019, at 10 am, at St Joseph Church, 163 Whisconier Road, Brookfield. Visitation will be at the Brookfield Funeral Home on Thursday, January 3, 2019, from 5 to 7 pm. Burial in St Francis Xavier Cemetery in New Milford will be held privately and at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs Gereg asked that a donation be made to The Friends of Brookfield Library.
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