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Geraldine “Gerry” Zacher

Passed Away on May 4, 2016


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Geraldine “Gerry” L. Zacher, age 76, of Eagle Butte, SD, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on May 4, 2016 in Mesa, AZ.  Gerry was born on January 25, 1940 in Mitchell, SD.  She was the daughter of Jerome and Helen Payne and grew up in Eagle Butte, graduating from high school in 1957 and went on to get a teaching degree at Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD in 1959.  On April 15, 1961, she married Francis J. Zacher, also of Eagle Butte and they began their 55 year journey together.  To this union four children were born, Jeff, Lisa, Scott and Stacey.  In 1972, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Northern State University.  Gerry dedicated her life to teaching. She spent 25 years teaching, 18 of them in Eagle Butte primarily elementary and middle school, touching the lives of over 700 students.  She spent the end of her career in adult education at the local community college and helping to recruit local reservation students for the University of South Dakota.  In this role she taught numerous General Education Diploma (GED) courses, often to some of the same students she had in grade school and was responsible for over 100 GED graduates.  She wrote that the hardest part was getting them (the GED students) through the door.  The oldest GED student she taught was 79 years old.  She stated that “there is a little 5th grader left in everyone”.  After retiring from teaching, Gerry devoted her attention to her seven grandchildren and also liked to spend time with her nieces and nephews from the Steven Payne family.  With the encouragement of her loving parents, Gerry also sought out to discover more about her biological family and soon discovered an older sister Diane, and was able to also meet her birth mother.  Over time she also discovered she had three half-brothers and was able to connect with other family members. Gerry also remained actively involved with the State Bank of Eagle Butte that her parents founded, doing administrative work and serving on the Board of Directors.  In 2002, Gerry and Francis began spending their winter months in Mesa, AZ and enjoyed traveling to spend time with their children and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jerome and Helen Payne.  She is survived by her spouse, Francis and children Jeff (Pam) Zacher, Mesa, AZ; Lisa Zacher, Orlando, FL; Scott Zacher, Chicago, IL; Stacey (Ruben) Grajeda, El Paso, TX and seven grandchildren (Justice, Erich, Victoria, Jackie, Ruben, Madeline, and Mateo); brother Steven (Susie) Payne, Eagle Butte, SD and nieces/nephews Tammy (Glen) Gunville, Stephanie (Dave) Cummings, and Russell (Amber) Payne and her great- nieces and nephews.  She is also survived by sister Diane (RJ) Peterson, Michigan and many other relatives and friends.  A Memorial Service will be held in Mesa, Arizona at Mountain View Funeral Home on May 7, 2016 and a Memorial Mass will be celebrated in Eagle Butte, SD in June 2016.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Dakota Club Library or Cheyenne River Youth Project, care of the State Bank of Eagle Butte, P.O. Box 10, Eagle Butte, SD 57625.

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  1. Nancy Zins says:

    Francis, Jeff, Lisa, Scott and Stacey,
    I’m so sorry! Gerry was a dear Friend and loved all of you very much.
    We would talk about your accomplishments for hours on end.
    She was a loving person!
    Hope to see you in Eagle Butte in June.

  2. Barbara LaPlante says:

    Worked with Gerry at Upper Elementary! Always had a good conversation when I saw her after retirement. Blessed to have known her. Prayers to the family.

  3. David and Connie Langbehn says:

    We were so sorry for your loss Francis and family

  4. Bill Gibson says:

    Thinking of my old neighbors,in Gettysburg….RIP Gerry.

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Geraldine “Gerry” Zacher

Passed Away on May 4, 2016


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Geraldine “Gerry” L. Zacher, age 76, of Eagle Butte, SD, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on May 4, 2016 in Mesa, AZ.  Gerry was born on January 25, 1940 in Mitchell, SD.  She was the daughter of Jerome and Helen Payne and grew up in Eagle Butte, graduating from high school in 1957 and went on to get a teaching degree at Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD in 1959.  On April 15, 1961, she married Francis J. Zacher, also of Eagle Butte and they began their 55 year journey together.  To this union four children were born, Jeff, Lisa, Scott and Stacey.  In 1972, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Northern State University.  Gerry dedicated her life to teaching. She spent 25 years teaching, 18 of them in Eagle Butte primarily elementary and middle school, touching the lives of over 700 students.  She spent the end of her career in adult education at the local community college and helping to recruit local reservation students for the University of South Dakota.  In this role she taught numerous General Education Diploma (GED) courses, often to some of the same students she had in grade school and was responsible for over 100 GED graduates.  She wrote that the hardest part was getting them (the GED students) through the door.  The oldest GED student she taught was 79 years old.  She stated that “there is a little 5th grader left in everyone”.  After retiring from teaching, Gerry devoted her attention to her seven grandchildren and also liked to spend time with her nieces and nephews from the Steven Payne family.  With the encouragement of her loving parents, Gerry also sought out to discover more about her biological family and soon discovered an older sister Diane, and was able to also meet her birth mother.  Over time she also discovered she had three half-brothers and was able to connect with other family members. Gerry also remained actively involved with the State Bank of Eagle Butte that her parents founded, doing administrative work and serving on the Board of Directors.  In 2002, Gerry and Francis began spending their winter months in Mesa, AZ and enjoyed traveling to spend time with their children and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jerome and Helen Payne.  She is survived by her spouse, Francis and children Jeff (Pam) Zacher, Mesa, AZ; Lisa Zacher, Orlando, FL; Scott Zacher, Chicago, IL; Stacey (Ruben) Grajeda, El Paso, TX and seven grandchildren (Justice, Erich, Victoria, Jackie, Ruben, Madeline, and Mateo); brother Steven (Susie) Payne, Eagle Butte, SD and nieces/nephews Tammy (Glen) Gunville, Stephanie (Dave) Cummings, and Russell (Amber) Payne and her great- nieces and nephews.  She is also survived by sister Diane (RJ) Peterson, Michigan and many other relatives and friends.  A Memorial Service will be held in Mesa, Arizona at Mountain View Funeral Home on May 7, 2016 and a Memorial Mass will be celebrated in Eagle Butte, SD in June 2016.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Dakota Club Library or Cheyenne River Youth Project, care of the State Bank of Eagle Butte, P.O. Box 10, Eagle Butte, SD 57625.

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4 responses to “Geraldine “Gerry” Zacher”

  1. Nancy Zins says:

    Francis, Jeff, Lisa, Scott and Stacey,
    I’m so sorry! Gerry was a dear Friend and loved all of you very much.
    We would talk about your accomplishments for hours on end.
    She was a loving person!
    Hope to see you in Eagle Butte in June.

  2. Barbara LaPlante says:

    Worked with Gerry at Upper Elementary! Always had a good conversation when I saw her after retirement. Blessed to have known her. Prayers to the family.

  3. David and Connie Langbehn says:

    We were so sorry for your loss Francis and family

  4. Bill Gibson says:

    Thinking of my old neighbors,in Gettysburg….RIP Gerry.

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