Gerry Steller - 1929 - 2019


Gerry Steller passed away June 11, 2019, in Dallas, Oregon, at the age of 90.
She was born February 18, 1929, in Weeping Water, Nebraska, to Gaylord and Mildred (Hunt) Smith. Gerry’s father and brother moved to Oregon in the mid-1940s so her father could work in the Kaiser Shipyards. Gerry and her mother stayed in Omaha, where she graduated from high school, and then moved to Portland in 1946. Gerry married James Hay in 1947; they later divorced. They had one child, Shayne. In the 1950s, Gerry went to night school to become an insurance underwriter, and that is where she met her husband, Neil Steller. Gerry married him on August 10, 1957, in Camas, Washington. She became the first woman vice president of Fred S. James Insurance & Co. in the mid-1970s. They lived in the Portland and Tigard area until 2003, when they moved to McMinnville, Oregon, where they lived until 2017, when they moved to Dallas Retirement Village in Dallas.
Gerry and her husband traveled to over 30 countries. She also enjoyed mountain climbing, hiking and skiing, and was a past member of the Mazamas. Gerry knitted many beautiful sweaters and was a wonderful seamstress. She had a green thumb when it came to raising orchids, gardenias and many other unusual plants.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and her brother, Gaylord (Red) Smith.
Gerry is survived by her husband of almost 62 years, Neil of Dallas; and her daughter, Shayne Hay Keith of Portland. She is also survived by her two grandsons, Benjamin Matteson of Portland and Nicholas (Sarah) Matteson of Wadsworth, Ohio; as well as by two great-granddaughters, Emma and Lily Matteson of Wadsworth; and sister-in-law, Patricia Smith of Dallas. Gerry will also be missed by her two nephews, Craig (Deanne) Smith of Salem and Garry (Pam) Smith of Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, August 10, at the Dallas Retirement Village chapel, 377 N.W. Jasper St., Dallas, OR 97338.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to: Hospice Care of the Northwest, 2290 Commercial St. S.E., Suite 108, Salem, OR 97302 or to Salem Friends of Felines, 980 Commercial St. S.E., Salem, OR 97302 .


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