Marilyn Hilliard Geraty, a Sacramento philanthropist and educator who championed education and development programs for children, died Jan. 26 following recent heart problems, her family said. She was 83.
Mrs. Geraty devoted herself to early childhood education, starting in 1953 as a kindergarten teacher for the Sacramento City Unified School District. She worked with at-risk children and was an administrator for a model Head Start program in 1966.
An advocate for parent involvement in classrooms, she taught parent education classes at City Unified schools and Sacramento City College. She mentored teachers and developed a grass-roots program, Parent Assisted Living Strategies, to help parents teach and model values for their children.
"She was always an educator whether it was teaching in a classroom or about values or just helping people look at their lives and make good choices," said her daughter Catherine. "She was a very good listener."
A Sacramento native, Mrs. Geraty supported education, social services and community development programs. She was a founding board member of groups such as the Family Service Agency, Community Services Planning Council, Sacramento Crisis Nursery, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Junior League of Sacramento.
Mrs. Geraty was born March 13, 1929, to Mabel and Edward Hilliard, a contractor who paved many Sacramento alleys. She graduated from Sacramento High School and UC Berkeley.
She was accepted to law school at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall but returned to Sacramento to teach. She earned a master's degree in education and teaching and administration credentials from California State University, Sacramento.
Mrs. Geraty lived in east Sacramento with her husband of 57 years, Eugene. Besides her husband, she is survived by her daughters Catherine, Jenny, Martha and Sarah, all of Sacramento, and three grandchildren.
A vigil service is set for 7 p.m. Monday at W.F. Gormley & Sons, 2015 Capitol Ave., Sacramento. A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Church, 1040 39th St., Sacramento.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church, St. Francis High School, East Portal Bocce Club's Special Olympics and Friends of McKinley Park.