Make your own free website on

In Loving Memory

Gertrude Connie Andrews Davis Rasberry Peele

Grandmama Gertie

November 25, 1914 - February 14, 2001


Delivered by The Rev. Brian Wingo
February 17, 2001

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

-Proverbs 31:10-30 (NIV)

In gathering this afternoon, we witness to our faith as we celebrate a life that has blessed us in many ways. We witness that Jesus Christ loves us and has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. And because He loves us, we are called to love one another. The apostle Paul says that faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. So, it is in that spirit of love that we have gathered today.

Gertie was a woman who knew the challenges life often brings. As a single mother (before that was in vogue--I might add), she reared four boys, worked in a cotton mill--loud, hard work; endured ducks and tadpoles in the bathroom tub (as well as the numerous other pranks boys sometimes play); kept her household together and for the most part she pulled it off with a measure of grace and a big dose of love. She was a special woman.

Gertie's BoysGertie was a good cook, she made the best coconut cake I believe I've ever eaten. I remember sampling it at a Homecoming a couple of years ago. I am told that every birthday she'd bake a cake and slip a dime between the layers. The birthday boy always got the slice with the dime. Some of the boys swear that dime was recycled every year!

Donnie told me: "We grew up poor, but we didn't know it 'til we were grown!" Gertie was so proud of her boys: Wayne, Carl, Henry and Donnie. She loved her family; family grounded her--her grandchildren and great-grandchildren brought her great pleasure. I am told that Gertie always wanted a daughter. (I shudder to think how Donnie would have turned out if he'd been born a girl.) Well she got four precious ones when her boys married. When your daughters-in-law love you as much as they have loved Gertie, then you know there is something special there.

Gertie's DaughtersAs difficult as life was, she never asked for a hand-out. She faced life with grit and determination. She never complained about her plight and she died without any regrets. She lived by the simple rules of faith. Rules like: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "Always pay back what is borrowed." "Be honest in all your dealings." Christian rules to live by, rules instilled in her children.

Gertie loved to be active. She was always ready to go. Whether chauffering friends or taking trips with our XYZ Club or with the Senior Center, she was always on the go. One trip revealed her true grit. In Columbus, Ohio, Gertie was mugged by a 19-year-old. He grabbed her purse and she grabbed back. He pulled a gun and shot her through the abdomen. In the hospital, she was heard saying, "If he didn't have a gun, I believe I'd have gotten the better of him."

Whenever you would see Gertie, you would always get her sweet smile. With that smile she'd reassure you that she was all right. Even in the hospital the day before she died, when I took her hand for prayer, she gave me that smile. In that smile, I heard her say: "I'm not worried, I'm going to be all right." Today, I celebrate that fact! She is all right in the arms of Jesus.

The author of Proverbs sings the praises of the honored wife and mother. He says her children rise up and call her blessed; and they have, because they have been greatly blessed. Thank God for the good gifts we have been given through the life of Gertie Peele.

God of us all, your love never ends. When all else fails, you still are God. We pray to you for one another in our need, and for all, anywhere, who mourn with us this day. To those who doubt, give light; to those who are weak, strength; to all who have sinned, mercy; to all who sorrow, your peace. Keep true in us the love with which we hold one another. In all our ways we trust you. O God, we acknowledge that all you have given us is yours. As first you gave Gertie to us, so now we give Gertie back to you. Receive her into the arms of your mercy. Raise her up with all your people. Receive us also, and raise us into a new life. Help us so to love and serve you in this world that we may enter into your joy in the world to come.