~ of Berwick, Kings Co. Nov. 17, 1923 – Jan. 1, 2023
A very special lady, loved by all who knew her, has passed. Gertrude was born in East Orange, N.J. and soon moved with her parents, Kenneth R. and Norma (Smith) Allen, back to their hometown of Yarmouth N.S. It was there that she spent her youth along with her beloved brother, Robert K. (Jean) and sister, concert pianist, Emily A. Allen.
Gertrude honed her loving skills training and nursing at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Known by her friends as ‘Pinky’, Gertrude entered McGill University and graduated from the School for Graduate Nurses with her Public Health Nursing Certificate. Upon graduation from McGill Gertrude became a public health nurse, working with the poor of Montreal.
Fate found Gertrude in Saint John, N.B. on a train, returning from a N.S. Christmas visit, where she had promised to save a seat for a friend. A handsome young U of T optometry student came down the aisle and asked if that seat was taken. She enthusiastically said ‘No!’…likely the only dishonest words ever to leave Gertrude’s lips. And so it was that Gertrude met her future husband, S. Keith Grimm. They married in 1949 and began life together in Toronto. After Keith’s graduation they moved to Berwick and then to Annapolis Royal, N.S. where they raised their family. She mentored future public health nurses and when her children were older, assisted Keith in his office. With the children grown, Gertrude and Keith built their retirement home in Berwick and moved there in 1976.
Gertrude, to the end, retained her encyclopedic knowledge of genealogy and noteworthy events in her and her children’s and grandchildren’s lives. She also devoted herself to lifelong correspondence with family and friends. She felt a very close bond with her neighbours, Robin and Jane Bustin and loved their children. Keith passed away on Christmas day 2001 and Gertrude remarkably cared for her own home until she was 96.
She delighted in following the progress of cardinals raising their young in the rosebush outside her kitchen window and in the comings and goings of hummingbirds among her perennials. Beginning in the autumn of ’20 she was happy as could be to be lovingly cared for and have the company of Peggy Silver and her wonderful staff. Naturally they too became Gertrude’s friends. A high point of her later life was when her beloved daughter, Louise (Bill DeGray) Grimm moved back to N.S. to live nearby.
Gertrude could always be counted on to deal with life’s trials with quiet strength. Physically unable to leave her home for a few years, upon unexpectedly hearing her devoted son, Ed (Kathy) Grimm had only days to live, she said “I’m going to go see him.” And with extraordinary strength and grace she went to him to say goodbye for now. Gertrude’s love of family was an inspiration to her son, Brian (Jane) Power-Grimm. She gave the gift of unconditional love to her children and to their partners.
Gertrude’s (Grammy’s) circle of love widened to include her grandchildren, Jenna (Bobby Pomerleau) Grimm and Karla (Evan Wollen) Grimm, Duncan (Shelly Simpson) Power-Grimm, Nick Power-Grimm and Reed (Kiran Awrey) Power-Grimm. Her love also included her great grandchildren, Elena Pomerleau, Serena Wollen and Dorian and Ash Power-Grimm.
Gertrude quietly believed that she would soon be reunited with her beloved parents and with Robert, Emily, Keith and Eddie. And in that image, she one more time brings us comfort. Gertrude gave her gifts of love to the world. She made it a better place. And the world loved her back.
A private interment will take place at a later date in Berwick Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, the IWK Health Centre Foundation or to the Royal Canadian Legion, Ortona Branch No. 69, Berwick.