Cover photo for Gertrude Geraldine Werkheiser's Obituary
Gertrude Geraldine Werkheiser Profile Photo
1917 Gertrude 2013

Gertrude Geraldine Werkheiser

November 24, 1917 — July 18, 2013

Born Gertrude Geraldine Farling in Easton, PA, on November 24, 1917, Gertrude Werkheiser passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 18, 2013, at the home of her daughter, Bonnie Werkheiser Goldfein in Grants Pass, OR, at the age of 95. Her long life was both an anomaly in her family – her mother Cora Farling died at 50 and her father John Thierry died at 37 – and a joy to her family, who called her “Nanny.”

Raised in Easton, Gertrude graduated from Easton High School in 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression, so college was not an option for her at that time. She began working as a typist and administrative assistant at the local Dixie Cup manufacturing company. In 1938 she married Charles Milton Werkheiser, whom she had met through the Christian Endeavor youth program at the church they both attended, and they had two children, Elaine Bonnie and James Milton, now of Lutherville, MD. When Bonnie and Jimmy were old enough, Gertrude returned to work, first part-time and later full time at Easton Hospital’s Admitting Office, where she eventually became Office Manager. Charles and Gertrude had been happily married for 63 years at the time of Charles’ death in 2001.

An avid and very fast reader, Gertrude generally read five or more books a week – even up to the time of her death -- with British mysteries her favorites. She and Charles also enjoyed traveling, visiting five continents and journeying to the British Isles many times. They once crossed the Atlantic on a freighter and once weathered a rough windjammer cruise on which Gertrude was the sole passenger not to get sick. The couple’s trips to the Hawaiian Islands led them to consider more nearby island living in the mid-1960’s, when they moved from Old Orchard in Easton to Sanibel Island, Florida, living there for 25 years. On Sanibel, Gertrude enjoyed working twice a week at the island’s all-volunteer library and hosting the many family members and friends who vacationed on Sanibel. TheWerkheisers later lived on the Florida mainland in Fort Myers until Charles’ death, at which time Gertrude moved to Cockeysville, MD, living with her granddaughter Wendy Werkheiser until 2012, when she moved to live with Bonnie and her husband Tevis “Tex” Goldfein in Oregon.

Education was always a very important part of life for both Gertrude and Charles. After both of their children received college degrees, Gertrude and Charles participated in a special higher education program with the University of Oklahoma, graduating in 1969 with Bachelor of Liberal Studies degrees. Through their marriage, Gertrude and Charles also enhanced their education by participating in Elder Hostels in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Through her life, Gertrude delighted in hobbies including oil painting, embroidery, crocheting and knitting, producing a number of cherished family heirlooms. A very talented cook, she enjoyed teaching her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren how to make both simple and complex recipes, which her “student-chefs” wrote down for themselves and later generations. Gertrude rarely measured ingredients, knowing just how much of everything she needed for specialties that included Pennsylvania Deutsch shoofly pie and apple dumplings, delicious vegetable soup, creative casseroles and other culinary treats, all made “from scratch.” In her later years, she truly enjoyed watching the “Monk” and “Murder She Wrote” TV series, as well as British series like “Upstairs, Downstairs,” “Keeping Up Appearances” and “The Vicar of Dibley.”

Following her long and full life, “Nanny” will be missed by Bonnie(husband Tex) and Jim(wife Linda), grandchildren WendyWerkheiser, Andrew Grimm (wife Gina), JohnWerkheiser (wife Krissie), Heidi Cleary (husband Jason) and great-grandchildren Bridget, Natalie, Andy, Danny, Jane and Breneman, as well as a wealth of friends and extended family. In addition to her parents and husband, she was pre-deceased by her sister Retie Cressman, brothers William (“June”) and Dale Eichlin and great-granddaughter Marisa Grimm. Following cremation in Oregon, Gertrude’s ashes will be interred with Charles at Northampton Memorial Shrine in Easton, PA, with a private family service at a future date.

The family wishes to express our gratitude to Roger Fogg, Nancy Yie and the Applegate Valley Family Practice staff, to Sharon Greene and to nurse Leigh and everyone else at Lovejoy Hospice for the compassionate care of Gertrude during her last weeks with us.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gertrude Geraldine Werkheiser, please visit our flower store.


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