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Geralyn "Geri" Guilbert
Geralyn “Geri” Guilbert

August 4, 1953 – October 20, 2021

Geralyn “Geri” Guilbert, 68, unexpectedly passed away at her home in Dana Point on Oct. 20, 2021.

Geri leaves behind her beloved husband of 19 years, John Guilbert, of Dana Point, and two children.

Geri was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1953 to Theresa and Bob Brendecke. She had three siblings – Patty (Brendecke) Spacciapolli, Steve Brendecke and Bobbi (Brendecke) Nelson. She was the mother of Julia Estrada, Preston Estrada and step-mother of Anna Estrada from a previous marriage.

Geri grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and attended Ursuline Academy Girls Catholic High School. When she was a teenager, the family moved to Mission Viejo, and then Dana Point. She took classes at Saddleback College, then transferred to San Diego State. She majored in Recreation Administration and eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Education.

Geri leaves a legacy of education, health and fitness, environmental awareness and community service. While in college, Geri and her sister Patty played on San Diego State’s first women’s rugby team. Also at that time, she was hired as the Aquatics Director for the Boys and Girls Club summer camp in Running Springs, CA. John also was there as a camp counselor and that is where they first met. John remembers that during meals, the directors all sat together, apart from the campers. But Geri always moved to a table to be with the kids. That’s what she loved. Pretty soon, all of the directors were sitting with the kids.

Geri and John saw each other a few times following their summer camp experience, then drifted apart. After both were divorced, John happened to run into Geri’s mother at a medical office. They got back together and eventually married, buoyed by a love of music, dancing and sports. Attending concerts and sporting events were staples of their lives. Geri swam, hiked in the mountains and on the beach, and played golf and pickle ball with John.

“Geri was a devoted mother, sister, aunt, daughter, cousin and friend to many,” John said. “I shared 19 wonderful years of marriage with my angel now in heaven.”

Geri worked as a travel agent, then moved into education. She became a teacher at San Juan Elementary and Kinoshita Elementary, both in San Juan Capistrano. While in those positions, she volunteered to join GRIP (Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership), a program run by the Orange County District Attorney’s office, local law enforcement and community policing. The goal is to prevent minors from joining criminal street gangs. She would bring at-risk youngsters home after school, give them lunch and have activities like playing with her dogs, playing games, and going to the beach or the park. She also volunteered at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point and participated in all of its programs.

Geri was preceded in death by her father Bob and brother Steve.

Geri’s ashes are interred at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, CA. A memorial for family and friends will be held on January 8, 2022, at 11 a.m. at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, 33926 Calle La Primavera, Dana Point, CA., 92629. A virtual viewing will also be available from the church. A reception will follow at the family home, located on the same block at 34032 Calle La Primavera, Dana Point.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the GRIP program. Go to: www.ocgrip.org for more information.

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