Gertrude "Gertie" Martha Fernholz, age 98 of Madison, went home to God on March 26, 2014.
Mass of Christian Burial was held for Gertrude Fernholz March 29, 2014, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Father Brian Oestreich officiated. Honorary casketbearers were the Catholic Aid. Internment was in St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery.
Gertie was born to John and Rosa (Stoick) Wollschlager on October 11, 1915 on their farm near Bellingham, MN. She was Baptized, made her First Holy Communion and Confirmation into the St. Michael faith community, in nearby Madison, MN. After the family moved to a farm three miles south of Madison, she was able to attend St. Michael’s Elementary School and her first year of high school until Neuman High closed it doors. Gertie was the right-hand help to her Mom as the Wollschlager family grew. Through the years that followed, Gertie met and eventually married Armond Fernholz on June 8, 1936. They settled on a small farm site near Bellingham, but in 1944, they were able to purchase the 240 acre farm east of Madison. Here they lived their entire married life together and raised their nine children. Gertie loved flowers and her big vegetable garden. Her cookies, bars, and caramel corn were always a hit with all, especially her 35 grandchildren and 44 great-grandchildren. Making music on her piano, sewing and camping were also some of her favorite pastimes. Gertie also got involved in Church activities like mission sewing, cooking for funerals, choir, joining a RENEW group, Altar and Rosary Society, and Christian Mothers. Gertie had a great sense of humor and shared with us many puns and one liners. Joy seemed to fill her soul even in times of worry, sadness and loss. In 2001, her two daughters, Sisters Kay and Annette moved to the farm and helped to care for Gertie and Armond until 2008 when they both moved to the Madison Lutheran Home where Armond passed away on March 12th of that year. For the next six years Gertie would live among the staff and other residents there. Such love and care was given to her during this time and how grateful we were to know that she was so well cared for. Her final days with us were spent in the MLH Hospice Unit surrounded by family. She was truly ready to join Dad and the rest of her heavenly family. The nursing and chaplain staffs, as well as the Hospice caregivers, were such an important part of these final days.
Gertie went home to God on March 26, 2014. Her legacy is carried on through her children; Sisters Kay and Annette Fernholz, Chuck (Carole) Fernholz and Carmen (Sally) Fernholz all of Madison, Joe (Sandy) Fernholz of Willmar, Therese (Kevin) Fernholz Bergeson of Dawson, Tom (Ann) Fernholz of Madison, Rose (John) Schwartz of Sleepy Eye and Cyndy (Bob) Shackelford of Lakeville; Gertie’s 35 grandchildren; and 44 great-grandchildren; sisters, Lorraine Wollschlager, Estelle Davis and Martina McDonnel; and brother, Jerry Wollschlager. Those who have gone before to welcome her home; her husband, Armond; her Mom and Dad; infant brothers, Clement and Marinus; brother, Linus Wollschlager; sister, Marcella Yonker; and infant great-granddaughter, Nora Grace Fernholz.
To all of us she leaves the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”