Celeste Cusenbary Gerber
Celeste Cusenbary Gerber, age 71, passed away unexpectedly Nov. 2, 2019. She has now joined her lifelong love, Chuck Gerber, her daughter Stephanie, granddaughter Presley, her parents, and grandparents. Funeral services will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, at 12 p.m. in Morrison Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Pioneer Cemetery in Graham.
Celeste greeted this world on Dec. 18, 1947 in Graham. She was happily welcomed by parents E.C. (Collie) Cusenbary and Mary Helen Orrell Cusenbary and proud big brother Wade. From that point on Celeste and Wade were inseparable. Childhood was filled with family in Abilene and Graham, the favorite times spent with special cousins. Celeste attended both Graham High School then graduated from Richland High School in 1966. She spent a couple semesters in Denton at North Texas State University and then started working for an insurance company. While living in Ft. Worth she noticed a handsome helicopter pilot grilling steaks by the pool, and he drove a corvette! On Aug. 9, 1969 Celeste married that handsome pilot, Chuck, and began their nearly 50 year love story. After the couple honeymooned in Colorado they moved to Denver for work. In 1972, Celeste began her favorite role, one she was destined to be, when she became a mother and the young couple welcomed their first child, their only son Michael. The little family moved around for a few years and landed in Wichita Falls when they joyfully added their first daughter, Stephanie in 1975. Stephanie was one of her greatest gifts and greatest heartaches. Two more daughters completed the family with the addition of Amanda in 1978 and Sherami in 1982. Celeste spent her time caring for her children and giving her gifts of love. She was artistic and crafty and showed her love by making clothes, Halloween costumes for her children and drawing pictures for them to color. The now big family of six made their home in Austin for a short period of time before their lives were upheaved when Stephanie unexpectedly died at age nine. North Richland Hills was the next and final stop for the saddened family. Here Celeste reached out to her community and found friendships in others who enjoyed bears and collecting. She became a member of Bear Patrol and shared her love of bears with those in need. In addition to finding fun in working at Bear Hugs after so many years of being a stay-at-home mom she also found a desire for entrepreneurship. In 1991, Celeste opened her own stuffed animal store, Huggy Stuff. For many years she passionately gave the retail business her all, all while being an exemplary mother. She gave her heart to her employees and customers alike. After the store closed, she took time to research more about model horses and developed friendships in that community. Celeste also allowed herself time to pursue another passion of enjoying horse racing and the friendships that hobby brought. In 2004, she became a grandmother to her first granddaughter Caden to whom she passed her passion for horses. In 2008, she said she was given the greatest birthday gift when her grandson Brady was born on her 61st birthday. Celeste’s third grandchild, Presley, was born in 2011 and she has been patiently waiting with Stephanie to spend eternity together. In 2015, she became a horse-owner to her beloved Sugarfoot.
These are mere facts of Celeste’s life and haven’t expressed the amazing woman and human she was.
Celeste was love. Her love shined through in how she made others feel. She loved so deeply. She expressed her love with ease and gave unconditionally. All that knew Celeste knew her heart, especially her family. Her husband, her children, her brother, her parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were her everything. Yet, she still had more to give. She gave her love to friends, to employees, to customers, to bear show enthusiasts, to model horse collectors, to race horse fans, all the way to the check-out lady at the grocery store. She taught by example the value of hard work, good judgment, courage, and integrity. How to endure and to keep going.
Celeste is survived by her son, Michael Gerber; daughter, Sherami Gerber; daughter, Amanda and son-in-law Lance Beach; grandchildren, Caden and Brady Beach; brother, Wade Cusenbary; sister, Cathy Haigood, brother-in-law, Tom Gerber; Aunt Estelle Dowdle; niece, Marisa Patteson; nephew, Nick Cusenbary; great nephews, Grayson and Sullivan Patteson and Jaxon Cusenbary; step-father, Jim Dunn; and numerous treasured cousins. She will be gravely missed and forever remembered by the legacy of love she created in her family and friendships.