1944 – 2023
Geraldine (Burrell) Gardiner was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 30, 1944 to the late John C. Burrell and Corrine L. White (Tilley). She transitioned on Saturday April 29, 2023 at the age of 78 at home in her beloved adopted city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Known to family and friends as Jeri, she grew up in Cambridge and West Medford before Grandma Eva Burrell bought a three-family home on Maywood Street in Roxbury. Aunt Frances and Uncle Frank lived on the first floor with their two daughters, Frannie and Barbara. The cousins became fast running buddies in Boston. There is a great picture of the three very mature teenagers cruising to Bermuda. Aunt Louise Williams, from whom Jeri got her middle name lived on the third floor. It was truly a family home. As a young adult Jeri went to beautician school and became a hairdresser, as it was called back then. She began work at La Parisienne; the beauty salon owned by Mrs. Holly in Grove Hall. Around that same time, Jeri met and married Joe Gardiner in April of 1968. Growing concerns about breathing the chemicals in the salon, Jeri moved on to a job at the new Sheraton Hotel in the opulent Prudential Center in the heart of Boston. In 1979, Jeri began the career she would ultimately retire from as a bank examiner for the state of Massachusetts. Traveling as a bank examiner inspired a love for Western Massachusetts, so she decided to move to Springfield. She fell in love with the city of Springfield, where she bought a home and settle in with her soul-mate and life-long partner, bassist Benny Wilson. Springfield is also where Jeri found her longtime spiritual home at Canaan Baptist Church. Throughout her life Jeri loved jazz more than she loved oxygen! That passion led her to the Springfield Jazz Society, where she brought to the area the likes of artists such as, James Williams; Semenya McCord; Vanessa Rubin; Marlena Shaw; Archie Shepp; John Hicks and others. During this wonderfully inspired and active time in her life, Jeri also achieved her lifelong goal of attaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from Boston University in 1984. But nothing made Jeri happier or prouder than her longtime association with and the friends made at WTCC radio. This relationship with the WTCC family allowed Jeri with her laid-back style and unruffled manner to passionately play the music she loved and produce the many artists she admired through the many years of a life very well lived. Jeri is predeceased by her life partner Benny Wilson, and her brother Roger Burrell. She is survived by her brothers Stephen Burrell and Scott Stoutley; sisters Naomi Henry, Denise Sampson and Barbara Williams; nieces La Keisha Badgett, Nuvia Ball and nephew Stephen A. Burrell. She is also survived by great niece LaKoya Ross, great nephew Jamall Tate, great-great niece Merci Rose Foley and cousins Frances McQueen, Barbara Brooks, Carol Washington, Roger Wheaton, Trudy Fullwood, Debbie Trotman, Connie Jones, Dianne Adams, Pat Walton, Howard Wheaton, Laurie McQueen Nolan, Christie McQueen, Nina Andrews, Tracy Jones, Kahris McLaughlin, Paul White and a host of other relatives and friends. Memorial service will be had on Saturday May 13, 2023 at 11AM at Canaan Baptist Church 1430 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104. For more details and to share condolences please visit www.forastiere.com.
Published by The Republican from May 2 to May 7, 2023.