Gerda Kilian Freedheim was raised in Upstate New York and earned her undergraduate degree at Simmons College (now Simmons University) in Boston. Later she earned Masters Degrees in Social Work (Administration) at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and in Business Administration at Cleveland State University. For twenty years, she was an Associate Director at the Federation for Community Planning in Cleveland and then Director of Policy & Planning at the Mid-America Consulting Group, as well as Adjunct Instructor at the School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU. She is the author of several publications on human rights and social service delivery systems. She has been honored in Who’s Who in American Women and Leadership Cleveland.
She is married to Donald K. Freedheim, Professor Emeritus in Psychology at CWRU. They have three daughters and six grandchildren. She and her husband are retired and live in Arlington, Virginia.