Gertraud was born on the 22nd of November, 1928, in Mankuslauken, Memelland (East Prussia). She was a farmer’s daughter, the third youngest of nine children. She was baptized shortly after birth in the area’s Lutheran Church in Wieszen, Memelland and confirmed in the same church 14 years later.
Under evacuation orders near the end of World War II, in October of 1944, Gertraud’s family packed a few belongings in a wagon and left their home forever as the Russian army advanced into the region. The family then lived in Oberfrohna (East Germany) where they retreated to the basement as bombs were dropped overhead. When the war ended in 1945, this area was included in Russian occupation zone. Sixteen year old Gertraud and her older sister left the family to head west for fear of Russian soldiers. They hitched a ride with soldiers in a convoy, but in separate vehicles; these, unbeknownst to them, had different destinations. When she arrived in Dachau, Gertraud could not find her sister. All alone she found a place to live and an office job in Munich.
Two years later, Gertraud moved to Braunschweig to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. After three years she passed the examination and became a nurse in November 1950. On her birthday in 1953 she became engaged to a Christian man: Otto Weber. He was a Master Tailor and had his own shop. They married the following year on 1 May, 1954 and Gertraud moved into the small one-bedroom apartment where Otto, his two sisters and their mother lived. Their first child, Sonja, was born while they lived there.
In 1955, the family emigrated to the USA because times were very hard for a tailor in post-war Germany. They boarded a military ship which took them to the United States. There they first lived in Peoria, where Gertraud learned English and took work in a hospital as a graduate nurse.
In January 1958, the family moved to Chicago. There Gertraud passed the exam to become a Registered Nurse. In 1961 Joe was born and in 1963 David was born. In the autumn of 1962 the family bought their first home. Throughout this time, Gertraud worked as an RN at Lutheran Deaconess Hospital, a forerunner of Lutheran General in Park Ridge. The family were members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church, where Gertraud was the church organist for about 15 years.
In late 1973, Otto Weber was diagnosed with leukemia. He put his affairs in order and died on 19 July 1976. Now Gertraud was a single working mother raising 2 teenaged sons. Her daughter had left to attend graduate school in Idaho. All three children were successful in their chosen careers.
In 1993, Gertraud retired from Christ Hospital after a total of 43 years of nursing. She had been a floor nurse, an emergency room nurse, and an obgyn nurse. She ended her career as a highly respected IV therapy nurse. In 1994 Gertraud moved to Morton Grove to be closer to her sons, she became a member of Jerusalem Church the same year.
Throughout her life, her belief in God and faith in Jesus Christ was her guiding light. She lived her life according to Christian principles. In life, as in death, she put her trust in Christ’s blood that was shed for our sins and in the promise of eternal life for those who believe in Him.
Gertraud was predeceased in death by her husband Otto Weber and is survived by her three children and their spouses: Sonja (Lee) Weber-Templeman (Cottage Grove, OR), Joe (Sonia) Weber (Park Ridge, IL), David (Mei) Weber (Niles, IL). She is also survived by several grandchildren: Danielle Weber (Doral, FL), Jonathan (Rachel) Weber (Chicago, IL), Kristen Weber (Park Ridge, IL), Evan Weber (Niles, IL), and Darin Weber (Niles, IL). Of her 9 siblings, only her youngest sister, Frieda Kellinghaus, survives, living with her family in western Germany.
Visitation will be held Tuesday from 3:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. at Cooney Funeral Home located at 625 Busse Hwy. in Park Ridge. Funeral Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. service at Cooney Funeral Home. Interment Arlington Cemetery in Elmhurst. For information please call 847-685-1002 or visit www.cooneyfuneralhome.com
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