Monday, December 13, 2010

Marjorie E. (Stege) Gewalt

Marjorie Edith Stege Gewalt died at age 89 on Dec 13, 2010, in Durham, North Carolina, after a long illness. She was born in Racine on October 19, 1921. and lived in Racine until 2006 when she moved to Durham to be near her children. She was the youngest of four children (June, Charles, Wallace and Marjorie) of Charles and Edith Stege. Marjorie married Elmer Gewalt in 1941. They enjoyed travel and collecting and restoring antiques, leaving their family many special heirlooms. Her husband Elmer died in 1985. Marjorie was a longtime member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and also appreciated the ministry of Trinity United Methodist church.

As a March of Dimes leader in Racine at the time of the polio outbreak in 1954, Marjorie convinced the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis that her group could quickly organize and document multiple inoculations of 2,200 Racine school children for the trial of the Salk vaccine for polio. Although Milwaukee County withdrew from vaccine testing only three weeks before the trial was to start, Racine County moved forward to become one of five Wisconsin counties that successfully completed the national trial of the Salk vaccine.

Marjorie and Elmer have two children: a daughter, Sally Lynn Gewalt of Chapel Hill, NC, wife of John Petranka, and a son, Ryerson John Gewalt of Holly Springs, NC, married to Kathleen Killelea. Ryerson has two married daughters, Felicity Ann Strunce and Joy Elizabeth Voith, who together have given Marjorie's family four great-grandchildren, Thaddeus, Theodore, Trinity and Ryerson. Marjorie also leaves Helen Gewalt Aschenbrener of Flat Rock, NC, Elmer's sister, who after losing her parents became part of Marge and Elmer's family for several years before college; as well as her dear childhood friend, Norma Deck of Racine; and many nephews and nieces.

Funeral services will be held Monday, December 20, 2010, at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Entombment will follow at West Lawn Memorial Park. Relatives and friends may meet with the family Monday at the funeral home from noon until time of service at 1 p.m. Her family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Racine Northside Food Pantry.

803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888

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