Geraldine (Gerry) Sporleder was born April 6, 1920 in the family home at 114 E. Cedar in Walsenburg as the middle of three siblings: Virginia “Gege” (Sporleder) Anderson and Charles “Sig” Sporleder, Jr. She passed away peacefully in her sleep at 10:45 pm June 2, 2009.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Carl Siegfried Sporleder Sr., and Gertrude (Elliott) Sporleder; and her sister Virginia.
Gerry graduated from Walsenburg High School in 1938 and took off for an adventure most only dream of.
She traveled by train to New York City to Edgewood Park, a girls school, where she studied singing (which she said she wasn’t very good at), French and Interior Design. It was in New York City that she embraced the beauty of culture with Broadway shows, plays and concerts. Her passion was for the concerts and opera. She spoke of hearing the famous contralto Marian Anderson with her thrilling voice. Until her last days Gerry would listen to the Metropolitan Opera matinee broadcasts out of NYC, sometimes getting upset if a visitor would come over while the matinee was in progress. While at Edgewood, she had a grand time with friends and made a trip to Bermuda on spring break.
Gerry’s French teacher visited the family ranch on the East Spanish Peak and made great friends with Louis B. Sporleder, Sr., Geraldine’s granddaddy. When the war broke out, this teacher wrote to Gerry’s parents and told them to “get their little girl home, immediately.” She left Edgewood in 1942, moving back to Walsenburg.
Gerry’s adventurous spirit kept her in Walsenburg for only a short while, but while there she enjoyed her time with her Girl Scout troop.
Gerry had a short stint in Hollywood, CA where she stayed with her mother’s cousin and apprenticed at Bullock’s Department Store in their interior design department. She stayed there until her sister announced her engagement. Then, because of her passion for the arts and interior design, she moved to Dallas, TX. She started out working at Neiman Marcus in their interior design division. At the time, this was the only store and Gerry met Herbert Marcus (who founded the retail store with his sister, Carrie Marcus Neiman, and her husband, A.L. Neiman). She came to know Stanley Marcus (son of Herbert) better as he had taken over running the department store.
While working at Neiman Marcus, many of Gerry’s clients told her that if she were to ever venture out on her own to call them and they would work with her. Because she didn’t have credit, she apprenticed under Lila Tilley. During that time, she and friend Lila went to Europe (in 1950), traveling through Paris, France, Italy, Nice, Rome, Venice, Monte Carlo, England, and Wuppertal Germany. She was able to visit friends of the family made four generations back, when the Sporleders still lived in Germany.
When her credit was built, she started her own interior design business. In the beginning, most of her customers were from Neiman Marcus. She built a great business– and she also designed her unique and beautiful award winning home on Turtle Creek in Dallas. She lived there, growing her business until retirement in 1988, when she moved back to her birth home on Cedar Street. She spent several years making beautiful renovations to that home.
Moving back to Walsenburg enabled her to grow very close to her sister, Gege. And she had always loved hiking with her brother when they were younger. She always had boyfriends, but never wanted to marry. She was too busy building a career, traveling and doing other interesting things. She had a lot of fun and had a very good life.
Gerry is survived by her brother, Charles Siegfried Sporleder, Jr. of Walsenburg; her sister’s children: Alan (Claudia) Anderson, Marilyn (Ray) Anderson, Chuck (Tami) Anderson, and Jim (Stephanie) Anderson; and her brother’s children: Karin (John) Niedfeldt, Eric (Alice) Sporleder, Ingrid (Danny) Todd, Gretchen (Brian) Orr and Karl (Debi) Sporleder. She had numerous grandnieces, grandnephews, great grandnieces, and great grandnephews.
An open house memorial service will be held from 4 to 7 pm on July 3 at the family home, 114 East Cedar in Walsenburg. Tax deductible donations may be made in her memory to the Huerfano Cat Coalition, a nonprofit association dedicated to the humane control of Huerfano County′s feral cat population through spaying and neutering of all cats, both feral or owned. Checks should be made out to Sangre de Cristo Volunteers for Change, with a designation that the donation be used for the Huerfano Cat Coalition, and mailed to Huerfano Cat Coalition, 30 Choctaw Dr., Walsenburg, CO 81089