Loretta Geraldine Gardner, 100, passed away on November 4, 2016 surrounded by her family. “Geri”, as she was known, was born on February 28, 1916 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She was the daughter of James Anthony Kelly and Loretta Cosgrove Kelly, who predeceased her. She was also predeceased by a brother, James, and a sister, Bernadette.
Geri attended New Brunswick schools, until she left at age 14 to help support her family during the Depression, eventually landing a job at Bakelite Corporation in 1937. There she worked in quality control in the Bound Brook, New Jersey plant where she assisted Dr. Baekeland, inventor of plastics, in trying out new uses for this revolutionary product. When Bakelite was sold to Union Carbide Corporation in 1939, she became a Carbide employee for the next 40 years, working in cost accounting and distribution. Along the way, she attained her General Education Certificate at age 50.