Obituary of Alma Gerstenkorn
Alma Gerstenkorn, age 91, of Joliet, finished the race well on Tuesday July 3, 2023 with her loving family by her side.
Alma was born to Johann and Birtha (Kirbach) Lebert on March 17, 1932 in a German community near Leonburg, Poland.
Alma grew up with four older sisters (Frieda, Olga, Ella, Lydia) and one younger brother (Hans) on a self-sufficient farm outside of a small village. Her carefree life changed suddenly, at the age of 7, when in September 1939 the German Blitzkrieg overtook Poland. Alma was 12 years old when Russia invaded Poland on January 18, 1945. Her family farm was taken, and while separated from surviving family members, she was forced to work in a Russian labor camp for 4-1/2 years.
In 1949, Alma and surviving family members were released following intervention by action of the United Nations. Alma was reunited with her mother, two sisters and one brother in East Germany, where she lived and went to school for 2-3 years. In 1952, Alma escaped from East Berlin to a refugee camp in West Berlin, where she joined other family members who had also escaped.
Alma met Siegfried (Fred) in West Germany, and they were married in 1955. Their daughter, Ingrid, was born in 1956 and together they immigrated to the United States settling in Joliet, Illinois. In 1959, Alma gave birth to twin sons, Ralph and Peter.
Alma became a Christian at 33 years old. Her life and relationships, after that age, were defined by this authentic faith.
She will be dearly missed by her three children, Ingrid (Bob), Ralph (Mary), and Peter; her 11 grandchildren, Jared, Erik, Heidi, Kyle, Ryan, Lindsey, Erika, Brett, Rachel, Shane, Tyler; as well as niece, Irene, and many other family members and friends.
She will be remembered for her incredible faith journey that remained steadfast through her last breath. She was the spiritual mentor to countless many. Alma was a prayer warrior and became fondly known as the John 3:16 Lady at St Joseph’s Hospital. She loved knitting and calligraphy and blessed many with their personalized John 3:16 framed verse. Alma also led a bible study group of women from different churches that faithfully met for decades. This group of women, over the years, contained her closest friends on this earth. If Alma knew you, she would pray for you. Those prayers, on your behalf, are still before her Creator even though she is no longer on this earth.
Her care for all those she knew was a natural extension of her faith journey and flowed from the grace and peace that she experienced through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank You for all that invested and cared for her, may you feel joy in knowing she, just like her heavenly father, found great value knowing and living in a caring relationship with each one of you.
Funeral services for Alma Gerstenkorn will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, July 15, 2023 at Messiah Lutheran Church, 40 Houbolt Road, Joliet, IL, where she will Lie-in-State from 9:00 a.m. until time of services. Interment will be in Woodlawn Memorial Park with Luncheon Fellowship for all to attend at Messiah Lutheran following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in her name to the “Save Messiah Lutheran Church” Campaign or Voice of the Martyrs (www.persecution.com) would be appreciated.
Fred C. Dames Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. For more information, please call (815) 741-5500 or visit her Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com
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