Gertrude "Gertie" (2000)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: Hardrath, Linbergh, Wettlinger, Gertie, Becker
----Sources: Scrap book one: by Elsa Lange Hardrath & Dorthaleen Edwards Hardrath
Contributed by Halbert "Bud" Hardrath
The O-W Enterprise, Withee, Wisconsin (Wednesday, June 7, 2000)
OWEN RESIDENT REMEMBERS HISTORIC EVENTS
Gertrude Becker of Maple Manor, Owen has vivid memories of events occurred almost a century ago. Gertie will celebrate her 97th birthday next month, July 7th to be exact.
Gertie recalls a ride in Charles Lindbergh’s airplane when the famous pilot was flying a mail plane from Maywood, a Chicago suburb, to St. Louis.
Gertie met the pilot in the suburb, where she worked after leaving her farm home in Green Grove to work at the People’s Credit Company in Maywood, Illinois. Often times, Gertie and her girl friend would have their supper in the same Maywood restaurant that Lindbergh and his fellow pilots would meet, and all soon became friends. It was at this time in May of 1927 that Gertie was offered a ride in Lindbergh’s plane.
Becker said of the flight, "It was exciting, I wasn’t afraid, but then I was quite young and not afraid of much." The plane had two seats; Gertie explained "one behind the other."
After his famous flight across the Atlantic solo, non-stop, he went on to Washington, D. C. and we never saw him again.
What a wonderful memory of the famous Charles A. Lindbergh.
Another historic event in Gertie Becker’s memory bank is the Titanic. The sinking of the Titanic happened on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912. The Titanic was the most modern luxurious, expensive ocean liner ever built at that time and considered unsinkable. The Titanic crossing was watched closely by some residents of Green Grove. A family, (neighbors of the Wettlingers - Gertie’s family) were waiting the arrival of their "Tante Anna" from Germany (via the Titanic). Tragically, Anna Peiper never arrived to visit her relatives in America. But was one of the 1,500 passengers lost in the North Atlantic. Gertie was nine years old at this happening and vowed she would never ride in a boat. Of course that changed in later years and many times rode in a boat, when they had property on Lake Holcomb.
Gertie has always kept up a fast pace. Working with her husband on their Green Grove farm, playing organ at Green Grove Lutheran Church, volunteer work and much more. At age 90 plus she was still very active, an avid sports fan, traveling, active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Withee, charter member of Hillcrest Homemakers and a volunteer at the Clark County Health Care Center. Gertie keeps scrapbooks of local and national events, her travels and family.
Becker was honored at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1994 as "Most Admired Senior Citizen". Gertie has received many such awards and it is easy to understand why "she finds her greatest enjoyment is helping others."
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