Life Story / Obituary
A true blessing, Gertrude “Trudy” Lowell was a delightful woman to know and love. With a twinkle in her eye, her warm-hearted ways and giving nature made everyone feel special. Trudy’s heart knew no bounds, and her loving spirit accepted everyone who came her way. Although life will never be the same without her, the legacy Trudy leaves behind leaves much to aspire for.
Marked by a time of prosperity in America, the Roaring Twenties emerged as a decade of economic prosperity rich with optimism and innovation. The stock market soared and people everywhere were brimming with hope. Yet nestled in the small Kentucky town of Warfield along the Tug Fork River, Boone and Hazel (Cook) Pinson is had some exciting news of their own to share when on February 21, 1927, they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Gertrude Anna into their arms.
One of eventually twelve children, many of the older children, like Gertrude, helped care for the younger siblings. Times were especially hard during the onset of the Great Depression. Her father was a hard working coal miner and farmer, while her mother remained at home as a homemaker. With such a bustling household, putting a roof over their heads and food on the table was no easy task, even in the best of circumstances. Even so, Gertrude enjoyed the adventures of childhood and received her early education through the Warfield School System.
Like many of her generation, Gertrude left her schooling behind in the sixth grade to work the family farm. During World War II and at the age of 17, she married and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although her marriage did not last, life in Grand Rapids offered a young woman like Gertrude endless possibilities. Over the following years, she married again and became the loving and devoted mother of nine children. Gertrude loved spending time in the kitchen making big meals, but she was especially famous for her potato candy. A longtime family favorite, it consisted of mashed potatoes, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, butter, and peanut butter rolled up and cut into sections. Gertrude’s door was always open. She welcomed all into her home, and she always had enough food and time for anyone who came for a visit.
Gertrude spent her free time bowling, painting ceramics, and she enjoyed a good game of cards, particularly Rummy. She also enjoyed shopping! A woman who always took good care of herself, Gertrude was a classy dresser and could never leave the house without being put together. When it came to music, she loved gospel, quartets, and old country from the likes of Dolly Parton, Hank Williams Sr., and Loretta Lynn.
In 1970, Gertrude’s life took an exciting turn when she met a handsome gentleman, Frank Lowell. A match meant to be right from the start, and with Frank’s four children, they blended their family of 13 well when they married on August 24, 1971, by the Justice of the Peace. As a new family, they moved to a home in Grandville where they remained for the next 30 years. They were faithful members of Berkley Hills Wesleyan Church, and each summer great times were shared on a big one-week camping trip up north.
While Frank liked to hunt, Gertrude liked cooking it. They enjoyed fishing together, although Gertrude was the one who always caught more! They often made trips to Tawas to see Frank’s relation and they’d go fishing, usually for smelt and walleye. Thanksgiving and Christmas were Gertrude’s favorite holidays. She savored being in the midst of her family during these times where she and Frank would enjoy having their entire family over. Everyone was important to Gertrude, and she saw to it that each and every person in their family received at least one gift. Even in later years when they retired and were traveling, they made certain they were home for the holidays.
Gertrude enjoyed playing cards with friends. They spent many summers at Brower Park, and when retired, they took in their love for travel. They made trips out west and they also went on several cruises. Picnics and reunions were just as important to Gertrude. She always looked forward to the Pinson family reunion every Labor Day weekend, and the only one she ever missed was just this last year. Family was the very center of Gertrude’s giving heart. She knew everyone’s birthday, and it mattered to her that no one should feel left out. Gertrude’s main focus was found in her desire to help others. In fact, even as a couple, anytime there was a death or sickness she was aware of, she and Frank would be there for them.
Technology was not one of Gertrude’s strongest points. She did not own a computer, much less know how to use one, but she did have a “cellular phone” as she always put it! The remote was one piece of technology she liked. She and Frank fussed daily over the remote, and if one of them fell asleep while watching TV, the other would always steal it! Almost naïve to a point, Gertrude was in for a big surprise when her boys asked her to help them with one of their plants. She watered it, gave it sun, and trimmed the branches. In fact it was growing quite well until one day when her daughter came over. As Gertrude boasted about the plant, her daughter informed her that it was a marijuana plant! Needless to say, Gertrude threw her hands up and quickly closed all the blinds in the house!
When her beloved Frank died in November of 2013, it was especially difficult on her. She never drove a car, and in time she began living with her daughter, Drema for awhile. After being diagnosed with dementia, Gertrude moved to Boulder Creek Assisted Living in Rockford in 2015 where she could get the care she needed.
Outgoing and fun-loving are just a few ways to describe Gertrude. She was the most caring and warm hearted woman whose uplifting and happy attitude was contagious. There wasn’t anyone quite like her, and in the hearts of all who knew her, Gertrude Lowell was an easy woman to love. Never to be forgotten, her unending love lives on in the hearts of those she leaves behind.
Mrs. Gertrude Lowell, aged 89, of Grand Rapids, went to be with her Lord and Savior on October 31, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank; and daughters, Tonda DeBoer and Brenda Burgen. Gertrude is survived by her children: Pam (Larry) McCune, Drema Stephens, Denise (Brian) Quinn, Darriol Stephens, David (Cindy) Stephens, Timothy (Cathy) Stephens, Nils (Mary) Bundy, Diane Barry, Cris Lowell, Ted Lowell, and Cindy (Randy) Anes; son-in-law, Chuck Burgen; 27 grandchildren; 43 great-grandchildren; and 30 great-great-grandchildren. Also surviving are her siblings: Carman Dodd and Gale (Ada) Pinson; many nieces, nephews, and friends. The Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 PM Thursday, November 3, 2016 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Her family will receive community support from 6-8 PM on Wednesday at the funeral home. Contributions in her memory may be made to Eagle’s Nest Church. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to share a favorite memory and/or photo of Gertrude and to sign her online guestbook.