Gertrude Lee (Ellis) Weiss passed away Sunday, January 6, 2019, at Good Samaritan Society, Pine River. She was born October 11, 1921 in Brainerd, MN to Jesse and Lottie Ellis. Her father, Jesse, was injured in an accident at the Railroad yard in Brainerd where he worked, and died from the injury shortly before Gertrude was born. The family resided in the Brainerd area until Gertrude was three years of age, when her mother remarried Frank Allen. They moved to the Blind Lake area, traveling by horse and wagon. For most of Gertrude’s childhood they farmed in the Pine River area. Gertrude started school at Pine River elementary, and when the family moved to a more rural area, she attended a one room country school through the 8th grade. She attended High School in Pine River, and upon graduation, went on to “Normal Training”. Normal Training was a one year program which upon completion allowed a person to teach in country schools. Gertrude taught at Maple Grove school for one year. She then met and married Fred Weiss in 1942. They bought a farm in Bungo Township. Shortly after they were married, Fred was drafted into the US Army. After his discharge from the service, they farmed for 25 years, along with raising a family of six children. When Fred’s health started declining, they sold the farm and moved to Pine River.
At age 54, Gertrude then started back to college for her teaching degree. She graduated from Bemidji State University with a major in Elementary Ed. And a minor in Special Ed. She received a teaching position at Pine River and taught Sp. Ed for 17 years.
When she retired from teaching Gertrude took Hospice Training and became a Hospice volunteer. She worked with people who were terminally ill. She also made regular visits to people at the nursing home. She was on call to come and stay with a patient that was dying and had no family or friends to be with them. Many times the patient wasn’t alert, so she would sing or read the Bible to them. She felt very strongly that nobody should have to die alone. She also visited people that just needed company or a visit and a friendly face.
Gertrude was also a very active part of Luther Crest Bible Camp in Alexandria for over 20 years, sharing stories of how faith shaped her life and the influence of her mother’s faith on her life. She was very active in First Lutheran, serving on the council, scholarship committee, making quilts, with the distribution of funds from bequeaths and helping out with almost any project asked to help with.
After her son, Gordon’s death, Gertrude set up a scholarship fund in his memory at Pine River-Backus schools where 1-4 scholarships are awarded every spring.
In 2006 Gertrude was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service for her community volunteerism. She traveled to Washington DC to be honored for her achievement at the National Celebration of Service to America.
Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents, brothers and sisters, husband Fred Weiss, son, Gordon Weiss and son-in-law, Brad Travis. She is survived by sons, David (Judy) of Osceola, WI, Walter of Pine River, Dale (Chris) of Backus; daughters, Harriet of Hackensack, and Loretta of Brainerd; 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, her beloved students and church family. To all she leaves behind, we are richly blessed to have been part of such a amazing woman’s life. Any memorials given will be distributed one or more of the many causes that she believed in.
Services will be 1 PM on Wednesday, January 9, at First Lutheran Church, Pine River. Visitation will be from 11:30AM-1PM. Burial will be in Pine Ridge Cemetery, Pine River. Arrangements are with Kline Funeral Home, Pine River.