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Gertrude Barrett, born in Gladbeck, Germany, died peacefully at her beloved home in Port Angeles on October 7, 2013, at the age of 78 from age-related causes.
She was preceded in death by her only son, Peter A. Barrett, who passed away in 2005.
Gertrude grew up in the coal-mining region of Germany. She was 5 years old when World War II broke out. Then, at the age of 9, she was evacuated to the countryside to stay with a family and remained there until the end of the war.
At one point, she began a job as a bookkeeper, working from a basement office in a large factory. She later became personal secretary to the president of the company.
In 1965, she was married to Dr. Rudolf Roesel, and in 1967, they moved to Seattle, Washington, from Switzerland, as her husband had a job working as an engineer from Boeing on the SST Project.
In 1971, when the SST project was canceled, Dr. Roesel lost his position and was forced to move to South Africa for work.
Gertrude had by this time come to love living in Seattle and divorced Dr. Roesel in 1972.
While living in Seattle, Gertrude studied at the University of Washington and, in 1973, received her master's degree in art history, with Magna Cum Laude honors.
In 1973, she began a relationship with Joseph Barrett, whom she married several years later. In 1974, she gave birth to Peter Barrett, who was absolutely the pride and joy of her whole life.
Tragically, Peter, a nature photographer, died in a kayaking accident in March of 2005.
Afterward, Gertrude tried heroically to move forward with her life, but things were never the same for her. Her health steadily declined in the following years.
In April of 2013, she successfully had a pacemaker installed, plus had vascular surgery. These operations gave her a new vitality and a more positive attitude, which she maintained until her passing, although the loss of her son was still with her.
Gertrude was known for being a person of many interests and for having a great love of life. She had a highly refined understanding of art history, philosophy, classical music and cooking — just to name a few of her many favorite things.
She also had a very curious mind and a love of nature and gardening. These talents and interests, plus a lively sense of humor and an uncommonly strong will, combined to make her a unique and compelling person.
The time and place of the celebration of her life has yet to be announced.
Donations in her honor would best be directed to your local volunteer hospice organization.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Dec. 15, 2013