Obituary of Gertrude Weiss Tow
A Tribute to Mom
(by her loving daughter-in-law Sherry Tow)
Born on March 16, 1916, our mother, Gertrude Weiss Tow, passed away at the amazing age of 102 on January 30, 2019, at the Carriage House in Greensboro, NC, where she had resided since November of 2017.
Mom, unusually independent for a woman born in 1916, lived the majority of her life on her terms. In 1938, she married George Tow and was the love of his life. Because of her jet-black hair and olive complexion, George nicknamed her Gypsy.
While raising their two children, Harvey and Diane, Mom did the bookkeeping for George’s hotel and restaurant supply meat business. Sadly, George passed away in 1961 at age 51, leaving Mom a widow at the age of 45. With Diane still in high school, Mom became the breadwinner, selling the business and finding outside employment for the first time in her married life. She did this out of necessity and without complaint. First she worked for Adohr Farms followed by Gelson's Markets, one of the nation's premier supermarket chains, and retired from Gelsons at the age of 66.
Mom excelled in grammar, was an avid reader, and enjoyed working crossword puzzles and playing the card game Panguingue (“Pan”). She also loved playing video poker in Las Vegas. She possessed a devilish sense of humor. Mom had some favorite one-liners she liked to use:
Q: “Mom, how do you feel?”
A: “With my fingers.” Also, “I don’t feel well and am in bed--with the doctor.”
Q: “Why can’t you be a good girl?”
A: “Good girls don’t have fun!”
Mom always enjoyed going out to restaurants with family or friends. Chinese food was a favorite. Harvey and Diane both seem to have “inherited” this dining-out trait.
At age 96, it was determined Mom should no longer drive. Her independent and stubborn nature was so strong, a steering wheel lock had to be installed in her car to prevent her from driving. She also now required part-time care at which she also initially fiercely rebelled. Fortunately, my sister Sheilah and her husband Rene were available to assist Mom in a variety of ways for four years and did so attentively and conscientiously.
Finally, after careful deliberation and soul-searching, Harvey and I decided it was necessary and in Mom’s best interest to move her near us in Greensboro. After much research, we found an assisted living residence, the Carriage House, less than five minutes from our home. To her credit, Mom gradually accepted her new home. As was typical of her, she never complained. If asked how she was feeling, she robustly answered, “Great!” Her wit, feisty, and engaging personality won the affection of the Carriage House staff and her dinning room companions!
Turning 101, Sherry & Harvey hosted a lovely lunch at Mom’s favorite restaurant, the Chinese Kitchen. It was followed by a celebration at the Carriage House. To make this festive and memorable occasion complete, her daughter, Diane, surprised Mom with a visit from CA.
On Mom’s 102nd birthday, Granddaughter, Faun, arranged for a photo session taken at the Bi-Centennial Park. It was a sentimental photo shoot and featured three generations of the Tow family.
Mom was a wonderful mother-in-law! It means a great deal to me that she used to say Harvey’s decision to marry me was the best one he ever made. She also never failed to take pleasure in spending time with Harvey and always greeted him with her irresistible smile!
Mom's body was returned to California for interment on February 7 at Hillside Cemetery, where her beloved husband, George, was also laid to rest.
Mom leaves behind her son Harvey Tow; daughter Diane Pfahler; granddaughter Faun Finley; son-in-law Stephen Pfahler; nephews Harvey Gussman and Alan Weiss; niece Carole Ursetti; grandnieces Sari Swig and Nancy Gussman; and grandnephew Roy Gussman.
Mom, may you rest in peace knowing you lived a long and full life on your terms and are forever in your family’s heart and memory.