Life Story / Obituary


On December 28th, 2021 Helen “Jeanie” Morrison Gaus died in The Villages, Florida. Jeanie was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years (Gerald) Jerry Gaus on December 24th, 2017. Jerry was from Anderson, Indiana where the couple spent most of their married life. Jeanie was born and raised in Elk Rapids, Michigan, graduating from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, with a BA in music education. Prior to her marriage to Jerry, she taught music in the Frankfort, Michigan school system.

Jeanie was the middle of three daughters born to Glenn and Beulah Morrison who owned and operated the Morrison Lumber Company in Elk Rapids for many years. Prior to taking over the business side of the lumber company, Beulah was principal of Elk Rapids High School; not to mention, a founding member of the Elk Rapids Garden Club.

In addition to exceptional musical talent and being a voracious reader and talented needle-pointer, Jeanie was the consummate mother and homemaker with baking as her specialty. She is survived by daughters Cheryl Gaus of The Villages, Florida, Elizabeth Gaus Otting and son-in-law, Joel, of Elk Rapids, Michigan; along with beloved nieces and nephews.

Jeanie was quite the daredevil growing up, swimming throughout the summer regardless of frigid temps, skating in the winter and walking the narrow ledge behind the Ek Rapids power plant which was not for the faint of heart! As a “mature” adult she created memories in Florida, to commemorate turning 90; zip lining, holding an alligator (post-air boat ride) going up in a hot-air balloon and getting a tattoo, to name a few!

After many years living in Anderson, Jeanie and Jerry moved to Leisure World in Mesa, Arizona. After 15+ years, they made their permanent home in Elk Rapids. Along the way, there was a special trip to Belgium and France, where Jerry had the chance to visit old haunts from the end of WWII. Their return to Elk Rapids, allowed Jeanie to rekindle family relationships with cousins from her youth, Robert Morrison, Esther Morrison Martineau and William and James Morrison, all area residents.

It’s now time for Jeanie to sit back with a bottomless glass of white wine, kitten on her lap and Jerry by her side. In her unassuming way, Jeanie touched so many. She was kind, smart, fun and unselfishly inspired others to feel good about themselves and special; an enviable legacy.

Please send a generous donation, on her and Jerry’s behalf, to the Wounded Warrior Project. There will be a celebration of Jeanie’s life, when warmer weather returns to Elk Rapids.

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