Gerda Ceremsak was not the kind of woman who settled into retirement quietly. In fact, with the hours she clocks volunteering and her collection of weekly meetings for clubs and boards, it’s hard call her lifestyle “retirement.”
Gerda was born and raised in Springfield, New Jersey, and attended the business school Katharine Gibbs in Montclair, New Jersey to become an executive secretary. After school, she moved in with her brother in Cambridge, Massachussetts. Having lived at home during college, this was the first time she got to be on her own, and loved every minute of it.
She and her late husband, Robert, moved frequently for work, living in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Michigan, landing in Evergreen in 1971 where they raised five children. “This is a great area,” she says. “I love this place.”
Ever since making the move to the mountains a few decades back, Gerda has been an active member of the community, working at the Life Care Center here in Evergreen for over 20 years now. She began by leading a Bible study on Thursdays with a friend, and that evolved into buying supplies for the center’s store and helping out with odd jobs wherever she was needed. Eventually, when her mother spent some time at the center, Gerda says, “I was there every day for one reason or another.”
Gerda also helps out a few times a month at the USO center at the Denver International Airport – a lounge area in the airport for service members who are passing through. It’s a place where they can read, eat, and relax. Her responsibilities when working at the center include doing everything from checking ID cards at the front desk to making sandwiches. “Sometimes I’m just talking to people,” she says of her interactions with the servicemen and women who pass through the center. “It’s a fun thing to do.”
This dynamo not only helps out in the community at large, but also takes an active leadership role right in her own home. She was recently elected to the board at the Rocky Mountain Village, the community where she currently resides inBergen Park. While the job is mostly attending to small details, she enjoys keeping a hand in what’s going on around the Village.
When asked what she enjoys doing with her spare time, Gerda laughs and says, “That reminds me of when my children would ask, ‘Mom, what did you do today?’ and I would say, ‘I didn’t sit around eating bon bons!’”
But in all seriousness, Gerda says she maintains an active role at the Bergen Park Church, working out at Curves, and, unusually enough, she loves ironing. She irons for a few friends who have full-time jobs simply because she enjoys it so much. Cooking is another interest of hers; but, she says, “If I’m going to cook a meal, I’m going to share it with someone.”
Her five children live all around the country now, and her eleven grandchildren are beginning lives of their own. While Gerda says she has to do a lot of traveling to visit all of her family, she’s glad she ended up in Evergreen. And it seems that with all of her hard work and dedication in the community, Evergreen is glad to have her as well.