Anna Gearhart

Anna Mary (Sunstrom) Gearhart, 89, of Waukon passed away into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior Sunday, December 11, 2022 at the Good Samaritan Center in Waukon. Memorial services will be held Monday, December 19 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waukon with Pastor Bryan Robertson officiating. Burial will be at Linwood Cemetery in Boone.

Friends may greet the family from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services Monday at the church. Martin-Grau Funeral Home in Waukon is handling arrangements. With heartfelt love and appreciation for all the compassion, care and spiritual guidance for Anna, memorials may be designated to Good Samaritan Society, Veterans Memorial Hospital or St. John’s Lutheran Church, all in Waukon.

Anna Mary Gearhart was born July 16, 1933 in Boone, the daughter of Charles and Opal (Smiley) Sunstrom. She attended Boone High School, graduating in 1951. Anna continued her education at Drake University in Des Moines with additional education through summer school at Iowa State University in Ames and Western Colorado University in Gunnison, CO.

Anna was a music major at Drake focusing on string bass; even though she was only 5’2”, she could tell that instrument what to do like a boss. Anna also played the piano very well and shared this gift at many different functions. She volunteered her playing of the piano at the Good Samaritan Home, giving much enjoyment to the residents, as well as to herself.

Anna earned her teaching certificate through Western Colorado University and went on to teach elementary school in Lamar, CO for a number of years. She continued with her love of music by playing in symphonies in Gunnison, CO, Des Moines and Lawrence, KS. One of Anna’s wishes in life was that one of her children would become a musician, but she realized rather early, that this wish might have to be passed on to her grandchildren - okay, maybe her great-grandchildren, but either way she always made sure that there was music in life.

While attending Drake University, Anna was a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority and was privileged to be nominated for Miss Drake during her freshman year. While attending Drake, she met Dick Gearhart, who would later become her husband of 68 years.

In 1970, Anna, along with her husband, moved themselves and their four children from Lamar, CO to Waukon. Anna became the director of the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICA) based in Decorah, where she served for 25 years. She went on to proudly serve on the Board of Directors for NEICA for many years and was rewarded with much satisfaction for her service to the communities and people involved. She then went on to work for 13 years at Veterans Memorial Hospital in the physical therapy department, where she definitely got her 10,000 steps in, and she loved it.

Anna enjoyed attending with her husband all sporting events, and especially the Drake Relays. Watching her children and grandchildren during their high school and college years brought much excitement and joy along with many miles traveled to attend these events. Anna was a 60+ year member of P.E.O. and served her time with her sisters with much love and appreciation for all this organization stands for. She was also a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waukon and was active in the hand bell and adult choirs.

Left to honor and cherish all the love, understanding and grace she gave to her family are her daughters: Debra (Steve) Roe, Kim (Joe) Griffin and Mary (Brad) Campbell; and her son, Steve “Moose” (Shelly) Gearhart. Anna was also blessed with eight grandchildren: Ethan (Casey) Roe, Emily Roe (Dakota Black), Jeremy Griffin (Kristen Gervais), Kelly (Eric) Amundson, Morgan (John) Jobe, Mariah (Patrick) Lattanzio, Allie (Austin) Long and Seb Gearhart (Olivia Vander Leest); and seven great-grandchildren: Lillian and Samuel Roe, Natalie Griffin, Jack and Remi Amundson, and Julian and Rowan Jobe; along with many nieces and nephews.

Anna was preceded in death by her husband, Dick, in 2020; her parents, Charles and Opal Sunstrom; her twin brother, Robert Sunstrom; a brother-in-law, Jack Gearhart; and a niece, Michelle (Gearhart) Wells.

Our Mom was the light in our family home and we were all given an angel for 89 years. Peace be with you Mom, give Dad a kiss and a chocolate star from all of us.

Honorary urnbearers are Anna’s grandchildren.

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