obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Emilie B.

Emilie B. Gerou April 7, 1936- August 8, 2011

Emilie Gerou died peacefully in her sleep on the morning of August 8th, 2011 at age 75 after a long struggle to regain her health. Beloved mother of Lenore Ceizyk (from her early marriage to Edward M. Ceizyk), Nannette Marie Gerou, Denise Joy Gerou, and Steven Jon Gerou (from her marriage to Alfred Lawrence Gerou). In addition to her children, she is survived by her grandchildren: Nannette’s son, Billy Daniel Sizemore and Denise’s children: Christopher Lawrence (Back), Ezekiel Alfonzo (Blevins), and Breanna Lace (Franklin), as well as her great-grandchild, Breanna’s daughter, Travaya Cherish Franklin (Bullock), who — in Emilie’s last days — brought such joy to her.

Emilie was born in Escanaba, Michigan to Evelyn (nee LaBay) and Arthur Sauvoy, where she learned to enjoy row-boating and ice-skating. She moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin in high school and graduated from Mary D. Bradford High School in 1954, a proud and active member of the audio-visual club and the newspaper under Ms. Tenuta. She was an operator for the telephone company in the late 1950’s; a homemaker, baker, and back-yard farmer in the early 1960’s; and a bread-winner beginning in the 1970’s and on. Emilie was a respected technical illustrator in the Dayton, Ohio area as well as a mother, Girl Scout leader, and, after the death of her husband Larry in 1979, the sole support of the family, working at Black-Clawson in Middletown, Ohio. She moved the family to Robin Springs Apartments in Blue Ball and then to the McPherson Town neighborhood in Dayton, where she was an active member of the Dayton Historical Society prior to retuning to Kenosha. Meanwhile, she also practiced oil painting and sculpture, often taking classes at the local college. After returning to Wisconsin, she held freelance positions in her field. In recent years, she worked for the Department of Aging and Arabian World Fest in Milwaukee.

Emilie will be cremated by Suminski Funeral Home, and her ashes will be distributed according to her wishes — some with her husband Larry in Ohio, some with her parents Arthur and Evelyn (nee LaBay) Sauvoy in Escanaba, and some on a horse-back riding trip with her daughters. A celebration of Emilie’s life will be held at the home of her eldest daughter on the afternoon of Saturday, August 20. It will include a memorial service at 2:00. If desired, memorials in Emilie’s memory are suggested to: Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee, 201 S. Hawley Ct. Milwaukee, WI 53214. Please note on your check that your donation is in memory of Emilie Gerou.

Past Comments


I will always remember Emily as my 2nd mom growing up and all her family was mine as well. The wonders that were cooked in her kitchen and the fun I had in her house will always be the best of memories for me. She will always be loved in my world.

Joy Massa

Emilie and I shared life and our interest in art and social causes beginning in Kenosha WI, where we attended school together. Emilie was a loyal, trusted and loving friend. Our visits and conversations were precious to me and my life is rendered less full by her loss.

Christopher L. Gerou

when i was eight years old, my grandmother taught me how to play chess. it wasnt three weeks later that i beat her for the first or many times to come. Emilie taught me that while i was good and winning was important, it was not the only thing. it was how you play the game. treat your opponent with respect, never belittle or degrade, and never, ever, allow you opponent to win. this will only encourage them to be lazy. i think if you stop and think about it, these lessons can be applied to life as well. thank you gramma for teaching me the game of life. thank you for being you.

Lenore Ceizyk

This is what I read at Mom’s memorial service on the 20th–

I’m Lenore, Emilie’s first child. You know, the one who steps between a young person and the life they planned. I want to thank you all for going out of your way to help us celebrate Mom’s very full life. I know it is difficult for people to travel or get off of work, and we appreciate your company and condolences.


What to say about Mom…? She was a bohemian enigma. When a TV show called Malcolm in the Middle came out, we all thought, “THAT’s MOM!”– A woman who could magically catch you in the middle of misdeeds and then lead you on just enough to let you prove your own guilt, a woman who also might answer the door wearing a pair of shorts and a laundry basket.

I remember Mom as a critical watcher of TV and a fan of that form of literature and journalism (as it was then). She read Chaucer to me as bed time stories and handed me Shakespeare in my teens when I was bored, but we also had Star Trek nights when we would get treats and afterward she would quiz me about the social relevance of the themes. She and Dad Larry let me stay up all night to watch a James Dean “marathon” when there were only seven TV stations so that I could understand their generation. When I was 12, she got me up in the middle of the night to watch the live coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention and then took me to the movie of Woodstock and the live Broadway version of Hair so that I could understand my own generation.

When I was younger, she exposed me to fencing, archery, art, and horseback riding. She enrolled me in ballet and tap dancing lessons and sent me to Girl Scout Camp–all of which took sacrifices of resources she could have spent on herself, and all of which imbued me with a sense of culture and adventure that I have always cherished. She encouraged me to be the best I could be and set an example with her ability to go to work no matter what–at least until her near-fatal car wreck 24 years ago.

Obviously, your mom is your mom forever, but for this occasion, I chose to focus on mom in her youth because that is when she affected me the most. For about my first seven years it seemed like we were so much of a team that when mom remarried with Dad Larry, I told everyone–and still say sometimes– that WE got married. That is not only a testament to my affection for her “boyfriend”, but also a testament to our closeness at the time. I felt like her First in Command, and it gave me the confidence that comes from responsibility, for which I will always be grateful.

Mom, despite her Nordic influences, helped me develop my Polish sense of fashion We enjoyed making Prom dresses and my first wedding dress together. You can see how talented Mom was as a seamstress in the pictures and dresses inside–and the dresses that we girls are wearing today–all handmade by Mom.

We worked on many holiday parties and barbeques together. We built a 4 x 8 papier mache landscape for a train set gift for Nan. When I was in my mid-twenties and Mom her mid-forties, we took a few classes together at Sinclair College while we were both going for degrees in art there. We sat up all night long suckin’ in cigarettes and coffee and spittin’ out airbrush paint for our final project in that class. And talking.

We could talk about anything then–not like those homes where kids can’t talk to their parents about sex or drugs. Anything was open for conversation, but always with a sense of responsibility and spirituality, although not specifically religion.

Mom had a hard way to go after Dad Larry’s sudden death, leaving her with three kids to finish raising, and then her horrible car wreck, but she recovered and had a lot of happy years, as evidenced by the pictures on the board inside. She was able to greet the next generations in Breanna and Travaya, as well as her grandchildren born before the wreck.

Recently, she has been struggling so much. One day in the middle of an ordinary visit, she said to me that she didn’t think that she would be going horseback riding with us girls. I told her that it was so expensive we weren’t planning on going anyway. She paused for a moment and said, “Well, don’t forget to go before it’s too late.” It was her final lesson to me in this life.

And I heard it. This is why we will take a family horseback riding trip and spreading some of Mom’s ashes along the way.

Lenore Ceizyk

Just to let visitors know, I have been trying to get photos of Mom’s memorial displays onto this website, but all of the picture files are too large to load. As soon as I figure this out, there will be pictures! Love and thanks to all! Peace.

Breanna Lace Gerou-Franklin "Nanna"

I love you Grandma! And Travaya loves you GG-Ma! So many things I have to say! I wish I could talk to you and my mom! Tell her I said we love and miss her! Rest In Peace

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