Geraldine “Gerry” Felder, 88, passed away after a brief illness on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.
She was born on Sept. 21, 1934 in Santa Rosa, living her early life in California with the exception of four years in Michigan with her mom, sister and extended family while her father, Ralph V Harr M.D., served in the US Navy.
Returning to Santa Rosa, Gerry finished her education and married Richard Lucas, having one daughter (Rickie) and an infant son (deceased). In 1954, Gerry married Norman Felder and began her life in Sonoma Valley. With the birth of DeLaine and Ace, the family living on the multi-generational dairy ranch located on Felder Road, was lively with three children running amuck on the western hills of Sonoma Valley.
In the early sixties the dairy herd was sold, Gerry & Norman took the three youngsters and moved to the Diamond A Estates as caretakers for the headquarters, stable and picnic facility. Gerry became famous for her BBQ beans and salads for the picnics hosted by the San Francisco owners.
In 1969, Rickie graduated from high school, DeLaine from Altimira and the family was off on a new adventure. Moving and working for the Sears Point Farming Company began an adventure that would carry on throughout her life. Gerry began her passion of raising birds and her first aviary was built, with many varieties of quail, pheasants and waterfowl. Over the years Gerry learned to incubate, brood and raise many kinds of birds. Many of her favorites were Bobwhite, Valley and Mountain Quail as well as multiple kinds of pheasants.
With the large birds on the floors of her aviaries she added the multiple varieties of dove, Ringneck, Diamond and White ones. After living briefly in Oregon she returned to Sonoma, expanding her aviary; she began hatching and sharing her birds with many others in Sonoma Valley. In 1995 her hatch of Silver Amherst Pheasants included the famous “Mr. Silver” who is now 27 years old; he gave Gerry much pleasure in coming up and eating lettuce out of her hand while sitting on her chair in her aviary.
Gerry was preceded in death by: her special friend and companion, Loren “Tuck” Sims; her parents, Ralph (MD) and Becky Harr; an infant son; and her sister, Suzanne Haight.
She is survived by: her son, Ace Felder (Rosa); her daughters, Rickie Strawn and DeLaine “Dee” Samson (Lee); grandchildren, Todd Felder (Mary), Lee Felder (Lyndsey), Laura Deaver (Kyle) and Sarrah Samson; great-grandchildren, Isabel Felder, Anna Felder, Daniel Felder, Lola Wild, Kyrie Deaver and Emmett Samson.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Duggan’s Mission Chapel, 525 W. Napa St., Sonoma, CA 95476 on Monday, December 19, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Duggan’s Mission Chapel has charge of the arrangements.
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