Geraldine S "Gerri" VerHowe-Barber

March 21st, 1949 to June 18th, 2024

Geraldine Sylvia “Gerri” VerHowe-Barber, 75, of Lexington, died Tuesday, June 18, 2024. She was born March 21, 1949 in Grand Rapids, MI to the late Chester and Helen VerHowe. She married her beloved Lawrence A. “Larry” Barber on May 20, 1982. Both were dedicated educators, with Gerri teaching in the Lansing Public Schools for five years and then serving as an educator and administrator at St. Clair County Community College for 19 years. Gerri received her Master’s degree from Michigan State and both she and Larry were ardent alumni. Gerri and Larry adored their lake life in Lexington, demonstrated in their nautical decor and the hours spent watching freighters. Gerri was an inspired deal hunter, the patron saint of TJ Maxx, and despite feigned exasperation, Larry demonstrated his love by just building more storage space in the garage. Larry preceded her in death on May 30, 2014.

Gerri was a force of nature and the life of the party, which often revolved around her kitchen (don’t even try to help), where she laughed, swayed to her ever present music, and produced one amazing meal after another. Food was her love language; a fact made evident as she packed you an extra rack of ribs to go. She was similarly passionate about travel, led from place to place by her severely outdated Garmin GPS navigator (she was nothing if not loyal). In the summer, she spent hour after hour cultivating her stunning garden. The love of gardening and her community led to the founding of the Lexington Community Garden and her significant involvement in the Lakeshore Garden Club.

Gerri’s joyful lifeforce drew so many cherished and deeply loyal friends to her side, including Patrick McNash and Carol Wasserman, whose dedicated care, alongside dear nurse Bonika Surline, allowed her the gift of staying in her home until the end. Her positive attitude allowed her to outlive her diagnosis, and her daily sing-songy mantra of “Good morning, Good Morning; it’s going to be a very lovely day!” is a lesson all her loved ones will hold dear.

She is survived by her sister, Nancy Riekse; nieces and nephews, Jamie (Sean) McWilliams, James (Julie) Riekse, Nathan (Jennifer) Dudley, and Emily (Jeff) Marshall; and many friends. She was preceded in death by her sister, Susan Dudley.

A memorial event will be held this September. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lawrence Barber Scholarship Fund at Michigan State University, 535 Chestnut Road, Room 300, E. Lansing, MI 48824-1005.

Arrangements are by Pollock-Randall Funeral Home.To send condolences, visit

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