Please note that due to COVID-19 we are currently accepting a maximum of 25-30 people at our location at any given time, and we require the use of masks for everyone’s protection.
Gertrude Veronica Sumner was born on December 4, 1929 in Freeport, New York. She was the youngest of 4 siblings, a sister Eileen, and brothers John and Joseph. Her mom became a widow when Gert was only two years old, and worked her entire life to support the family.
Gert attended Queen of the Rosary high school. She would hitch hike with her girlfriends to Jones Beach where they spent hours in the sun, using baby oil and iodine to get the perfect tan!
She married her husband, George Maxheimer on September 10, 1949. He was a handsome, 6’ 4” Marine. Gertrude was only a little over 5’ tall with beautiful red hair. They honeymooned in Maine where George’s parents owned a farm.
Their first child, Kathy, was born a year later. She was followed by Anita, Susan, Steven, Carol and Michael. The house was always loud and a little crazy, but Gertrude found peace and quiet spending time reading. The house could burn down around her, but reading was her quiet space.
Gert loved animals, and over the years we had a multitude of pets. Dogs, cats, a parrot, turtles, guinea pigs, an iguana, lizards, white mice, a rescued blue jay and a chipmunk who lived happily for years eating cocoa and peanut butter every morning.
Gert worked for New York Telephone Company out of high school as a switchboard operator, and in later years, worked the switchboard in Korvettes close to home. Many times her day was interrupted with calls from home involving sibling arguments or incidents with various pets. Life was never dull or boring!
She has always been very involved with her children, and was a religious instruction teacher and a Girl Scout leader for more than 25 years. She became involved with Kathy’s troop when she was a Brownie, and remained active all through the teenage years for more than a few of her girls. As a Senior Girl Scout Leader, she took her troop on multiple camping trips to Bermuda. Gert loves the outdoors, has a wonderful sense of humor and was an inspiration to many of her scouts who still are in her life today.
Her kind and caring manor has made all of her children proud and influenced each of their paths in life. She would take elderly neighbors to church when they had no transportation, and always had her Girl Scouts visit adult homes and Senior Centers where they would interact with the residents. She taught her children to care for others who were lonely or less fortunate. She took in a relative who had developmental disabilities and treated her with love and kindness. She became a huge part of all of our lives, and in one way or another, many of Gert’s children and grandchildren became involved in some way with this population. It has made us all softer in a very harsh world.
Gertrude is blessed with a large and loving family. She is a grandma to 14, and a great grandma, or GG, to 11.
Gertrude moved to Village Walk Senior Living in late September 2019. She found much happiness enjoying the activities and trips, and made close friends with some of the residents. She was proud of the fact that she still had the ability to stir up some innocent trouble, and had become the ring leader of a small group of ladies who enjoyed laughing and enjoying good times together.
“Perhaps they are not stars but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.”
In lieu of flowers, donations to Hope House Ministries, Port Jefferson, NY 11777