Cover photo for Gayanne Nieratko's Obituary
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1942 Gayanne 2022

Gayanne Nieratko

May 16, 1942 — May 13, 2022

Gayanne Marie Nieratko, age 79, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 13, 2022 with her husband at her side. For over a year she coped with an aggressive form of brain cancer (Glioblastoma). She enjoyed a wonderful life enriched and blessed with the love of family and many friends, a life in which she reached the goal of achieving the highest purpose of human life on Earth: She loved and was loved in return. 

Born on Saturday, May 16, 1942, in Erie, she was the daughter of  R. Gaylord Kester and Dorothy M. Gohlke Kester. Gayanne attended Wilson Middle School where her mother taught home economics. She was a 1960 graduate of Academy High School where she was a member of the chorus and the special a cappella choir. She was a great homemaker who devoted her life to the nurturing and guiding of her four children and being a loving, supportive, joy-filled wife, mother and grandmother. She believed in the practices of the La Leche League and enjoyed being a source of support and encouragement to young mothers. Over the years she worked as a waitress and most especially enjoyed the many years at Bill's Cafe where she thrived on the hustle and bustle on Friday nights serving the five-star Lake Erie Perch and spaghetti dnners. It was at Bill's Cafe where she was so grateful to have met and worked with Virginia Serafini Angelotti, Betty and Robert Beaumont, and, of course, Bill Angelotti, who she admired as a true gentleman and a most kind, caring "boss." Gayanne's proclivity for music and her gifted singing voice enabled her to enjoy many years of involvement in the Flagship City Sweet Adelines Barbershop Chorus where she sang in the prestigious Bass section. The visits by chorus members during her illness, especially Sue Abt's recent ones, were all deeply appreciated.  Gayanne was grateful to have been a fifteen gallon donor at the Community Blood Bank of Erie.

As a young adult and with the encouragement of her mother, Gayanne joined the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority where she formed life-long friendships with Patricia Gunther, Sandra McGavisk, Beverly Gallagher, Barb Shonthaler, and Gail Simcox. There was also the unique bond she had with two friends who made up a trio referring to themselves as the "Golden Girls" with Gayanne being "Blanche," Georgene Repman being "Rose," and Beverly Gallagher being "Dorothy," the sane member of the group!  Then there was Gayanne's personality: Her beautiful contagious smile, her warmth and easy-going friendliness, her wit and hat hilarious sense of humor, her laughter, her disdain for phoniness, her tenacious spirit, ,her stubbornness and her caring concern for people and animals. In reference to her travels Gayanne and family lived in Moundsville, WV for three years, enjoyed a Mississippi cruise, took several trips to Disney World and New York City and in recent years she and her husband enjoyed an Amtrak "Loop Around the United States." As a Erieite, Gayanne never failed to apreciate the beautiful sunsets at Presque Isle, Erie's seasonal changes, the city's diverse population and cultures, its unpredictable politics, and its musical and cultural events. Trips to nearby wineries in Pennsylvania and New York state were always on the agenda in Summer and Fall.

Gayanne had two prayers that were dear to her. One was the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference."  The other was: "Lord, Help me to be the person my dog and cat think I am." On April 4, 2022, her husband's 80th birthday and the two year anniversary of their daughter Natasha's death, Gayanne gave her husband the gift of a key that for him unlocked the mystery of what it means for the Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God to dwell within us.  Throughout their 47 years of marriage she kindly and lovingly gave her husband credit for being way smarter and more intelligent than he actually is. 

Earlier in her life Gayanne had been married to Robert P. Lohse of Northeast, PA., and they were blessed to have two wonderful daughters: Suzanne, who currently lives in Meadville with her husband, Rick, and Elaine, who lives in Fairview view with her husband, Joseph, and their son, Owen.  

Since July of last year she received extraordinary home health services from a gifted care-giving aide, Jessica Stockhausen, whose positive energy, radiant enthusiasm, joy-filled spirit and loving care were truly a godsend to both Gayanne and her husband.  Gratitude is also expressed for all of the medical care given her by the staff of the AHN Cancer Institute at St. Vincent and, most recently, by Interim Healthcare Hospice. Heartfelt thanks are extended to so many, many people who have kept her in their hearts, thoughts and prayers.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by a daughter, Natasha A. Nieratko.

Survivors include her husband, Robert M. Nieratko, and three children: Suzanne M. Lent and husband, Rick; Elaine A. Gavio and husband, Joseph; Mark A. Nieratko and wife, LeAnna; five grandchildren: Lilly, Lyle, and Roseanna Nieratko; Owen Gavio and Maxon Rogers; her brother, William Kester and wife, Kathi; a first cousin, Kent Gohlke; niece Amy Miller and husband, Andy; and great-niece, Brittany Dingle and husband, Alex.

Family and friends will be received at Quinn Funeral Home, 728 West Ninth Street, Erie, PA on Thursday, May 19th from 4:00-7:00 PM.  Funeral Services will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Feed My Starving Children, 401 93rd Avenue NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55433 in memory of Gayanne and Natasha Nieratko.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Calling Hours

Thursday, May 19, 2022

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Formerly the Quinn Funeral Home Branch

728 West 9th Street, Erie, PA 16502

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