Gertrude Rees was 102 years old and passed away peacefully while holding the hand of her daughter Francie. Gert’s unwavering faith in God provided her strength and grace until her last day. She was blessed with a wonderful family and loved by many friends. Those who knew her found her to be sweet, genuine and kind.
Gertrude was born in The Dalles, Ore., to immigrant parents, August and Elisa Baumgartner. They traveled from Switzerland and entered the US through Ellis Island before settling on Dutch Flats outside of The Dalles. Her parents made the trip with seven young children and eventually had three more after arriving in Oregon. Gertrude was the second youngest child and last surviving member of the family. In her formative years she graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in The Dalles (1934). She moved to Portland, Ore., to work for Montgomery Ward and married Reese Kelley. After a few short years she returned home and gave birth to her daughter. Gertrude became a single mother and worked tirelessly caring for her daughter and elderly mother while employed as a bookkeeper/office manager for The Mayflower Milk Company. She completed her career at the social security office in The Dalles, where she retired in 1978.
Gertrude married Aubrey Rees in 1965 and together they maintained a small fruit farm. In 1982 they sold the farm and moved to Woodburn Estates. After Aubrey’s sudden passing in 1985, Gert became very involved in the Woodburn community. She spent much of the next twenty years volunteering and helping other people, which included daily trips for Dial-a-Ride and Meals on Wheels. She was an active member of St. Luke’s Catholic Church and St. Monica’s Circle. In addition, she enjoyed gardening, dancing, playing cards, bowling, traveling and golf. Over the years she had many special friends who loved her kindness, warm smile and selfless approach to life.
In her last years, she returned to her hometown to be cared for by her daughter Francie and son in law Greg Mengis. She had a beautiful relationship with both and enjoyed their time together. The family will cherish the special memories of her long life. The love she shared with her family and friends will be forever missed.
She was preceded in death by her parents August and Elisa Baumgartner; five sisters, Elizabeth Nye, Sister Mary Ann Clarrise, Ida Baumgartner, Claire Ryan and Ann Marick; three brothers; August Baumgartner, Joe Baumgartner and Father John Baumgartner; and an infant sibling.
She is survived by her daughter Francie (Greg) Mengis; step-daughter Judy Mark; grandchildren, Scott (Dianna), Jeff (Susie), Teri, Mike, Molly; step-grandson Craig (Debee) Mark; ten great-grandchildren; and six great-great grandchildren.
Services will be held on Friday, May 10, 2019, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Woodburn. Rosary at 10:30 a.m. and Mass at 11 p.m. A lunch reception will follow at the parish hall immediately after Mass. A private family burial will take place in The Dalles Catholic Cemetery. Donations may be made in her memory to St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Woodburn.