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Mildred Mary Gerstner Ross died peacefully on August 24, 2022. Mildred was born in Hays, KS, on January 29, 1925, to Alex Gerstner and Emma Schuetz. She graduated from Girls’ Catholic High School (Thomas More Prep-Marian) in Hays, in 1943. At age 17, and following the untimely death of her mother to leukemia, Mildred took on many of the parenting responsibilities for her younger siblings.
She married the love of her life, Lawrence Edgar Ross, on January 29, 1945. Mildred and Lawrence began their lives together on the Ross family farm in Hyacinth, KS, later returning to Hays and eventually settling in Great Bend, KS, where Mildred was employed by the Great Bend Regional Hospital. She was also a valued contributor to her husband’s company, Reed Testing. Mildred and Lawrence enjoyed many evenings at the Petroleum Club, playing cards, dancing, and being with friends.
Mildred moved to Wichita, KS, in 2005. She spent her later years working in daughter Janet’s restaurant, Cafe Moderne, in Old Town. Patrons recognized “Grandma Mimi’s” gelato as the best in the city. Rumor has it she may have overserved a few guests.
Whether it was providing meals for the family, helping out on the farm, or supporting the war effort, Mildred’s grit and determination to make sure everyone was taken care of were her greatest gifts. She honed the art of making something out of nothing, and this extended to all facets of her life. Her courage, tenacity, and strength defined her existence.
Mildred was a parishioner at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita. Her Catholic faith and devotion were modeled in her complete and total acceptance of others. A kind and gentle woman who would help anyone in need–even strangers–Mildred showed love to all of those around her. Mildred believed in treating others with grace and compassion. She always seemed to know the right thing to say. Mildred offered sage advice to those seeking counsel, but more importantly she was a trusted listener.
Family fondly recall her culinary contributions during holidays and at family gatherings. Fried chicken, Bierocks, and Herzjer (Hearts) were plentiful and nods to her Midwest and Volga German roots. Beyond her cooking, Mildred’s infectious laugh, hearty hugs, and abundant energy were gifts shared daily with others. Her humor and one-liners are memorable: Hey kiddo. Are we good or what? Are you kidding me? Oh my Gosh. I love you.
Mildred was preceded in death by her husband Lawrence, daughter Geraldine, and son Lawrence, along with siblings Ernest, Robert, Elmer, Marietta, and Norman. Mildred is survived by sisters Rosemary and Dolores, daughter Janet Rine (Grant) and son Patrick (Sandy) Ross, daughter-in-law Sue Ross, and son-in-law David Bostrom. Mildred “Mimi” felt blessed by the numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren who adored her nurturing and inquisitive ways.
In December of 2021, she was asked about her life story:
"I probably should have written it all down–it would have been a bestseller."
Of Mildred, Lawrence “Grandpa Pete” said it best years ago: "When she gets to heaven, heaven will be a better place."
A Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, Nov. 10 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Chapel at the Catholic Care Center, 6550 E. 45th St., Bel Aire, KS. A reception with family and friends will follow at 1:00 p.m. at Dockum at the Ambassador Hotel, 104 S. Broadway, Wichita. Share condolences at www.cozine.com. Arrangements by Cozine Memorial Group-Broadway Mortuary.
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
Catholic Care Center
Thursday, November 10, 2022
1:00 - 3:00pm (Central time)
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