Mildred “Millie” Mattie Gerber, 92, passed away Thursday November 12, 2020 at Heritage Estates in Gering, Nebraska.
Millie was born April 1, 1928 in Polson to Harry Houston Bonser and Cecelia Theresa (nee Ducharme) Bonser. She was the youngest of seven daughters. She was an enrolled tribal member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes in Montana. In 1947 she graduated from Ogallala Community School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Later she attended Chadron Prep school in 1948 and received a Teaching Certificate.
Millie married the love of her life, Charles Frederick “Fred” Gerber, on May 28, 1950. To this union two girls were born, Elsie and Paula. She taught at numerous schools on the Pine Ridge reservation while her husband Fred owned and operated a Mobile Gas station until he passed away in July of 1968.
After her husband’s passing Mildred and her girls moved to Spearfish, South Dakota where she attended Black Hills State College, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education, and single-handedly raised her daughters.
An intelligent and educated woman, Millie was also a “world traveler”, having been to Europe, on multiple cruises, and across the entire United States from San Francisco, California, to Orlando, Florida. She did some amazing things in her lifetime, from being a USO girl during WWII, working for Southern Pacific RR in California, to teaching (including Olympian Billy Mills in elementary school!), and many other varied accomplishments, including speaking Lakota.
She is survived by her daughters Elsie Converse and Paula Gerber, granddaughter Dael Hendren (James Nielsen), and great grandchildren Elsianne and Conlan Nielsen, all of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
A private celebration of Millie’s life will be held at a later date at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Scottsbluff, NE. The family suggests that anyone wishing to honor Millie’s life should donate to www.re-member.org, which is a nonprofit assisting those in need on the Pine Ridge Reservation, or to any charity. Online condolences may be made by visiting Millie’s memorial page at www.bridgmanfuneralhome.com.