February 5, 1919 - March 20, 2008

Gertrude Elaine Zekley "Gerti" was born in Detroit, Michigan on February 5, 1919. Her parents were Rebecca Glick from Lithuania and Benjamin Moss from Poland. She grew up in her family's corner grocery store and developed a strong taste for chocolate. A great image is of her as a child sitting inside the grocery's glass candy case with her face covered in chocolate.

Gerti would answer the phone in her childlike high pitched voice trying to explain to callers that she was an adult. She was often heard responding to an arguing caller "I am my mother!".

She worked with the Signal Corps as a young woman and quickly became the group's mascot.

She married Fred Zekley, an aeronautical engineer, and eventually moved to California. They were followed out to Los Angeles by both their families including her brother Marvin Moss. Her parents opened another grocery store in Glendale.

Gerti moved to Tujunga and became quite involved with the synagogue and literally kept the doors open with her fund raising efforts.

She would go the the Renaissance Pleasure Faire with her son Mickie and help him with sales at his stained glass booth. She was a great sales person. At one point she started a business of making chenille flower arrangements and sold them in many stores. She was creative and industrious. She loved to oil paint and every pad of paper in her house had beautiful doodles of women's faces on them.

Gerti moved to Mendocino in 1993 and worked in the her son Mickie's music store, Lark In The Morning Musique Shoppe, for 7 years. She made many friends in the music community with her good nature and kind attention. She became the Lark Camp Grandma and counseled many people on their love life and more. She had the wonderful knack of making people feel at home and welcome. Gerti would bake up a storm every week for the English Country Dance sessions and triple for the dances. Her chocolate chip mandlebrot is legendary.

She was a selfless daughter helping her parents through their hard times and a devoted mother and grandmother. She always had a good word to say, good advice for her friends and a good story to tell.

Gertrude has two wonderful grandchildren Corwin & Marina and a son Mickie whose wife Elizabeth has been a devoted daughter-in-law and her loving brother Marvin.

She passed away in Fort Bragg, March 20, 2008.

"Passing On" a tune composed in honor of Gerti. Composed and performed by her 11 year old grandson Corwin.

"An Interview With Gerti 2004" by Marina, Gerti's grandaughter.

Some of Gerti's oil paintings.

Some of Gerti's hand painted greeting cards.

Stories & Anecdotes About Gerti From Her Friends

email Gerti's Family