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Longtime Douglas resident Gisela Sperber died June 27, 2008, at home with family at her side. She was 64.
She was born in 1943 in Assmannshausen, Germany. Her parents died when she was a small girl, and she remained in Germany several years before moving to New York City to live with an aunt and uncle when she was a young teenager.
In the early 1960s, she moved to Los Angeles to live with her sister. There she met the love of her life, Richard Sperber, her family said. They were married in 1963 and lived in several West Coast cities before settling in Douglas in 1969.
Her family said she created and maintained a loving home, where for years she provided daycare for Douglas children. She enjoyed many hobbies, including cooking, baking, crocheting, gardening and bowling.
She was a genuinely warm and caring person who adored her children and grandchildren, her family said. She rejoiced in attending all of her grandchildren's school plays and concerts, watching them reach many of their childhood milestones, they said.
Although, over the course of her life, she lived with several health ailments, she never complained, her family said. She long struggled with heart problems and diabetes. And during the last several years of her life, she fought valiantly against lymphatic cancer, they said.
"She had an exceptionally strong spirit and very positive attitude regarding life," her family said. "She was a pillar of strength to her family. She was an incredible role model for all the people in her life who knew and loved her. She will be forever missed by everyone whose lives she touched."
She was preceded in death by her parents; and a sister, Marianna Dries, of Germany.
She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Richard Sperber; children, Roger Sperber and his wife, Carol, of Douglas, and Sylvia Bach and her husband, Don, of Juneau; grandchildren, Matthew and Michael Sperber, of Douglas, and Karl and Erik Bach, of Juneau; sisters, Regina Kreuzhuber and her husband, Fritz, of Germany, and Hilde Levonian and her husband, Rendall, of Palm Desert, Calif.; and numerous nieces and nephews in both the United States and Germany.
Donations in her name may be made to either Hospice and Home Care of Juneau or the Gastineau Humane Society.