Gertrude Miriam Soeth - age: 87
(November 11, 1927 to October 25, 2015
Gertrude Soeth, a lifelong resident of Mendocino County, passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on October 25, 2015, in Ukiah, CA.
Born Gertrude Miriam Luoma in Fort Bragg on November 11, 1927, she was the youngest of six children. She was active in sports and the Glee Club in high school, and was awarded a lifetime California Scholarship Federation membership upon graduation. She attended UC Berkeley, returning to Fort Bragg to work as a dental assistant. It was in Fort Bragg that she was introduced to her future husband, Norman C. Soeth. Within the hour the two of them were flying over the Pacific Ocean, Norman piloting the plane while thrilling Gertrude with loops and other aerobatics. Norman and Gertrude were married June 20, 1948. Ultimately, they settled in Ukiah where they enjoyed many happy years together, raising their family, working, and forming lifelong friendships.
Gertrude's passion was playing the piano. As a third grade student, she began taking piano lessons with the high school music teacher. Her gift of playing by ear lasted her entire life. She was an accomplished musician, playing classical music as well as popular tunes, patriotic songs, and hymns. She played for the Glee Club, for weddings, and for church services. She accompanied singers for performances, and church members for hymns in her childhood home. She played at Emblem Club and Elk's functions including fashion shows and memorial services. She did not require sheet music to play, only a list of song titles or requests, and her memory for songs old and new spanned decades. Eventually, while residing at Brookside Retirement Residence, Gertrude played a grand piano every evening. Her fellow residents came out almost nightly to hear her play and to sing along to their favorite songs.
During her life, Gertrude was a member of organizations including the Ukiah Red Hats and the Emblem Club, where she served in many offices including two terms as President, as well as Supreme Assistant Organist. She was always on the go when it came to civic events. She was proud of her Finnish heritage, and traveled to Finland several times, meeting family and visiting her father's childhood home. Another aspect of Gert that not everyone knew was her love of Scrabble, and many neophytes found out the hard way that she was a master at Scrabble. Through the years, many Ukiah residents approached Gertrude, recognizing her friendly face from Thrifty Drug Store where she served ice cream. She formed new friendships and kept the old.
Gertrude was predeceased by her husband, Norman as well as her parents, Charles and Jennie Luoma. She is survived by her daughter, Karen Bachman and husband Richard of Arizona, and her son, William Soeth and wife Susan of Texas. She also is survived by her grandson, Erick Soeth and wife Rachel of Texas, and her granddaughter, Ashley Tom and husband Greg of Hawaii, and their daughter Isabella. Gertrude's great joy last Christmas was being able to sit next to Ella while they played the piano together. Gertrude's sister, Sylvia Reschke of Santa Rosa, as well as nieces, nephews and cousins, also survive.
Services will be conducted at Monday, November 2, at 11:00 a.m. at Eversole Mortuary in Ukiah. Graveside services will follow at Russian River Cemetery, where Gertrude will be laid to rest beside her husband Norman.
Gertrude was a proud American of the greatest generation who fought a war, worked hard through terrible times, and took great care of their families. Her passing is worthy of mourning, yet we know she is with her husband with a bottle of California robust red wine and a grand piano.