Geraldine “Gerry” Rosemary (Silva) Ceremony, 83, peacefully returned to God in the early morning hours of May 16, 2019, at home with her husband of 61 years, Stanley D. Ceremony by her side. Born on Maui, HI on September 23, 1935 to parents David G. Silva and Hannah Helm Silva, where she lived along with her two older brothers David and Ron.
Her early years on Maui were spent building her seashell collection, becoming a talented hula dancer and spending time with her beloved maternal grandparents Mary and William Helm where her love of gardening began amidst their tropical plantation garden. It was by her grandmother’s side where she learned to bake and garden, while her grandfather passed to her his love of music. After the family moved to Richmond, CA she graduated from Presentation High School, Berkeley (Class of ‘53). After high school, her deep Catholic faith led her to enter as a novitiate to become a religious sister. However, early in the process of discernment, her love of children and desire to have a family led her to leave the convent life. Her early work life began at the phone company as a service representative where her strong social skills and ease with people brought her much success and many friends. She married Stan on May 10, 1958 beginning their life together in Richmond where they soon began building their own family. She took much pride in her vocation as a wife and mother, gracefully managing a busy household of seven children.
Moving to Sonoma in 1970 to build a home to accommodate their growing family was the beginning of the next chapter in her life. Her days were filled with being a caring wife, attentive and loving mother and a faithful Catholic volunteering in various capacities at St. Francis School, including singing in the church music group. Her love of children led her to an 18 year career at El Verano School beginning as a teacher’s assistant in the kindergarten classroom and ending with many years in the role of a special resource aide where she excelled at gently mentoring and helping children who struggled in school. Her work at the school was a source of pride and much joy and her ease with all kinds of people gifted her with a large circle of close friends. Her free time was spent enjoying hobbies including gardening, baking, music, singing, arts & crafts, social time with many friends, and enjoying nature on family camping trips in the summer.
Later in life, she relished jaunts to Bodega Bay and road trips with her husband in their trailer. She was an avid member of the Sonoma Valley Garden Club and enjoyed many years as a member of the Sonoma Valley Chorale. She spent hours in her garden, puttering in her greenhouse listening to music, and enjoying the birds faithfully kept fed in her yard. She was truly able to see God in all of creation.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children Mary Dietrich (Byron), Brian Ceremony, Stephen Ceremony, Jeffry Ceremony (Jessica), Teresa Vassallo (Paul), Duane Ceremony (Mikki), Glen Ceremony (Debra) and predeceased by her beloved Amy Michelle Ceremony. She was also a Nana to, and survived by 17 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren with one on the way. She often lovingly reminded each one of her children and grandchildren that they were “keepers.”
We will miss deeply the unconditional love she shared as a wife, mother and Nana. She taught us to live each God given day to the best of our ability. Her examples of living her faith, entrusting her life to God, her ability to find something good in all people, the positive in all circumstances, her easy smile, laughter, sense of humor, ready advice (“Nana-isms”) and her example of finding deep joy in her family life are among the many things we will miss most about her. You are invited to the visitation at Duggan’s Mission Chapel Thursday, May 23rd at 3-7pm (Vigil 6 pm) followed by a funeral mass Friday, May 24th, at 11am, at St. Francis Solano Church in Sonoma. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Sonoma Overnight Support (SOS) or to El Verano Elementary School.
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El Verano Elementary School
18606 Riverside Dr,, Sonoma CA 95476
Sonoma Overnight Support
151 First St. West, Sonoma CA 95476