With sadness we announce the death of our beloved family matriarch, Geraldine (Heckel) Kneser. Geri passed to new life on October 14, 2021. She is now blessedly reunited with Harlow, her loving husband, and John, her cherished five-year-old son, bringing her family comfort as we mark the end of an era.
Geraldine was born on September 12,1927, in the back bedroom of her family’s home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the youngest of eight, to Louis and Anna (Deinlein) Heckel. She married Harlow Kneser in May of 1948 and moved to Waukesha, where they began a successful family business, The Waukesha Music Center, and welcomed five children.
There is a nobility in making life smooth, in keeping a clean house, in providing comfort and organization. Geri lived an ordinary life of simple truths, excelling in her role as wife and mother.
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Geri embodied this sentiment from St. Mother Theresa. Geri’s life was tragically interrupted by the death of her young son John, but defined by the love of her family.
Geri’s family was her greatest joy. She welcomed her children’s spouses and embraced her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As her family expanded, there was enough love for all. A big family party was the highlight of any season, one which involved songs and performances, providing laughter and treasured memories.
Geri was an active member of St. Mary Parish, spending countless hours of volunteer work. Daily prayer was her mainstay. Her faith was constant, in good times and bad. Geri was at peace, secure in her relationship with her Heavenly Father.
Geri will be remembered with love and affection by her four children, Kathryn (Joseph) Arena, Karolyn (Regge) Krueger, Susan (Thaddeus) Kearney, and Peter (Chris) Kneser. She is survived by grandchildren, Rebecca (Martin) Cheman, Clare (Scott) Haden, Amy Kolman, Katie (Thomas) Sam, Jeff (Rachel) Krueger, Jane (Nathan) Mathes, Maura (Alan) Cosgrave, Ellen (Justin) Dobson and Patrick Kearney. Her great-grandchildren are Luke and Molly Cheman, Benjamin Haden, Ava, Maya and Leo Kolman, Kiefer and Anna Sam, Skylar and Shep Krueger, Julian Mathes, Sophie and Grayson Cosgrave, and Lucy Dobson. Geri is also survived by her sister, Rosemary Rehm.
Geri was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years Harlow, her son John, and a great- granddaughter Ella Kolman.
Visitation will be held on Friday, October 22, 2021, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 225 South Hartwell, Waukesha, WI, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. A private family burial will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. The Mass will be livestreamed and recorded. It can be viewed at Mrs. Kneser’s memorial page on the funeral home website.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made in Geraldine’s name to: St. Mary Catholic Church, 225 South Hartwell, Waukesha, WI 53186 or the Avalon Square, 222 Park Place, Waukesha, WI 53186.
Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, Crematory and Preplanning Services is honored to serve the family. For further information, please call the funeral home at 262-547-4035 or visit our website at
for directions or to leave the family an online tribute message.
Death is bittersweet: The release of a broken body; The end of a long, good life; An end of burden which itself leaves an emptiness. Memories and love remain. Find peace in her peace. - Joe Arena -