Obituary of Geraldine Hemmick
Geraldine (Jeri) Hemmick, 5/5/22 (Cinco de Mayo!) – 8/28/17
95 beautiful years, survived by daughter, Mindy Murphy, much-loved son-in-law, Mike Murphy, beloved grandchildren, Samantha and Jennifer Murphy, great-grandchildren, Kaviana and Mia, as well as all cousins from the Vacarre family. Preceded in death by mother, Annabelle Pflueger, father, Paul Del Vitto, husband, Mel Hemmick, brother, Paul Vacarre, and BFF, Pat Bray.
As an only child to an amazing mother, it’s going to be hard to get this right, so I’m going to break some rules. My mother would have been the first to say, “Break them all!”
Jeri was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. At an early age, she moved with her mother to Akron, Ohio where she split time with her mother in Akron, Ohio and her father in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. She attended Kent State University and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Jeri married in Pensacola, to Milburn K. Hemmick, a handsome, funny, navy pilot: and she was his Grace Kelly. They lived from Pensacola, Florida, to Marblehead Mass., to San Francisco, to Rhode Island, where I was born. They fished, boated, loved the ocean, and loved good parties.
Later, in Chicago, my father earned his Master's Degree at Northwestern University then later taught at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. I remember the raucous weekly parties my mother hosted for students and faculty, ending for me fondly, when my eyes would no longer stay open and I was carried to bed. At that time, my mother collaborated on a cookbook for Father Swords, who told her it was the best donation he had ever had for Holy Cross. Mom felt highly honored.
My father was then stationed in Roda, Spain. Mom volunteered at the hospital and pursued her arts, which included oil painting and gourmet Spanish food. We took weekly excursions traveling Europe. Mom loved the cultures and the people.
I have vibrant pictures of Mom dressed all sparkly and beautiful, with her long, blonde hair curled in a side-ponytail, and my father dapper in his navy whites, with me in tow, eyes big and proud always going to the Officer's Club.
They left Spain after three years, ended the 22 years of navy life, and moved back to Chicago. We were always on-the-go: plays, museums, Old Town – where ever adventures took us. Sometimes adventures surprise us: when she was 47, Mom moved to Akron, with me in tow, where she became an LPN, but chose to open The Red Lion Sandwich Board with her mother, Annie, shortly after. Later they branched out to the bar business, opening The Village (now Frank’s Place). Two strong women started a reputable business serving alcohol – an extraordinary achievement in the 70’s. Mom cooked and ran the bar, and many Akronites enjoyed their success.
Mom and Annie saw Highland Square as a growing area, catering to young people, who they loved. So – for the third time they transformed a business, creating Annabelle’s, a favorite bar and gathering place in the Square. This was not done by outside contractors, but by salvaging, such as church pews used on the back walls, antiques Mom and Annie loved to hunt for, pictures they made on the back wall, blown up from old German steins, chandeliers to add a touch of elegance, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
Mom made all her fresh spaghetti, taco meat, and lasagna at our little condo, then carted it to the bar. I’m sure that would fly now! My grandmother heated it up in the bar kitchen (more like a walk-in closet): 50 cent Taco Tuesday, one dollar spaghetti night, and dollar lasagna night. They nurtured the college kids not only with affordable food, but with over-the-counter advice, as well.
With all that Mom was doing, amazingly, the job she put most of her heart and soul into was raising her daughter. I gave her a run for her money. She was strict, but forgiving, loving, and grateful. She had strong shoulders and a big heart. She dragged me kicking and screaming to be the best she could help me be. There has never been a better mother.
When I lived in San Diego, Mom spent three months out of the winter with me at Crystal Pier, where the sounds of water and creaking of the pier would rock us to sleep. My San Diego friends were also her children. When I moved back home after ten years, cross-country with a U-Haul, my dog, and a car in tow, of course, my always-supportive mom, traveled with me. We had a blast.
Mom was always what my husband calls a “go-go girl”: two months back-packing with me in Europe, Bridge at the Women’s City Club, golfing in the Tuesday night league, and generally causing trouble and excitement with friends Patricia, Mary Jane, Diane, Lynn, Betty, Eleanore, Jackie, and Nita.
Mom broke her hip at 90 years-old, but rallied with the help of beloved care-takers, and continued to be a “go-go girl.” Special thanks to Tangi, Mandy, Allie, Georgia, Kim, Amanda, Courtney, Lori, and Sylvia – our extended family, as well as my husband, her favorite, for keeping her going in her “wheelie.”
Mom was still able to play poker once a week, where she was known as “the shark,” and wore her sparkle hats. Several times she took down over a hundred players to win the final pot. She loved her poker friends.
This last month, Mom pulled her energy together to attend her 95th birthday party, a graduation party, and my 60th birthday party, which was dedicated to her. She visited with everyone, danced in her wheelchair, smiled brightly, and proclaimed our party as the best party ever.
Mom took her last breath at home on August 28th. Six friends had spent the night before with her, in her little two-bedroom condo. The prior week was filled with people coming and going, surrounding her with love.
In celebration of a life well lived, and of a mom-to-all, we invite you to attend calling hours on Saturday, September 2, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm followed by a memorial service at 12:00pm at the Hummel Funeral Home, 3475 Copley Rd. Copley, Ohio 44321. Please join us for a celebration of life at Annebelle's Bar at Highland Square from 1-5 pm Saturday.
500 East Exchange Street
Akron, Ohio 44304
Phone: (330) 253-6126
Fax: (330) 777-0129
3475 Copley Road
Copley, Ohio 44321
Phone: (330) 253-6126
Fax: (330) 777-0129