Gerald William Rathjen was called home to be with the Lord on July 1, 2019 at the age of 77. He was born on March 15, 1942 in Loup City, Nebraska, baptized by Pastor M.H. Elmshaeuser on April 5, and confirmed by Reverend E. F. Frese on April 3, 1955 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Beatrice. He met his beloved wife, Jo Ann, at the University of Nebraska, and the two were married on August 4, 1963 at the University Lutheran Chapel in Lincoln. They made their home in several different states throughout their 55 years of marriage, spending the past nine years in Roseville, California. He was the cherished father of Thomas Rathjen (married to Cynthia) and Catherine Fenton (married to Ken), the grandfather of Amanda (married to Cody), Kristina, Stephanie, Jeremy, Steven (married to Hope), David, Hannah, and Caleb, and the great grandfather of Graham.
Gerald graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He quickly became a successful computer programmer during the infancy of the field, working for companies such as Control Data Corporation and Computer Communications Incorporated. In the late 70’s, Gerald pivoted his career to accounting, becoming a Certified Public Accountant in 1982. For the next 30 years, he worked for several accounting firms as a CPA, comptroller, and chief financial officer until his retirement to Roseville. He also successfully managed his own accounting firms in Torrance, California, and Henderson, Nevada.
Throughout his life, Gerald was faithfully active at church in many leadership and service roles. Together with Jo Ann, he was instrumental in planting Grace Lutheran Church in Henderson, Nevada. He also served as financial officer for many congregations, including St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California.
Gerald had a passion for writing computer programs and algorithms to study the behaviors of financial markets, determine complex statistical outcomes, and provide tools for financial management. He continued to program and analyze data during his retirement until the very end. However, next to his faith, Gerald’s highest priority in life was family. He never missed attending baptisms, confirmations, graduations, weddings, and other significant family events. He and Jo Ann would travel around the country, even when health made it challenging. This legacy has wonderfully influenced his growing family’s next generations.
Family and friends are welcome for visitation on Friday, July 19, 2019, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at PRICE FUNERAL CHAPEL (6335 Sunrise Blvd., Citrus Heights, CA 916-725-2109.) All are also invited to attend his funeral service on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. at FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH (4000 San Juan Ave., Fair Oaks, CA.)
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