Gertrude Christianna Heitz, 79, died peacefully in her sleep at Barone Alzheimer's Care Center, in Nevada, on Jan. 9, 2009, after a lengthy illness. She was born Nov. 8, 1929, at Neustadt/Aisch, West Germany, the daughter of innkeeper Andreas Steinle and Augusta Marguarita Ficht. Gertrude attended public schools in Neustadt while growing up and later attended two-year academy for young girls in a nearby town.
Shortly after World War II ended she met her husband Edward C. Heitz, a soldier in the United States Army, stationed at Nurnburg, Germany, and they married on June 18, 1948. In October 1953, Gertrude immigrated to the United States with her husband and their two oldest children on his return to the stateside assignment at Fort Benajmin Harrison, Ind. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in August 1956, in Indianapolis, Ind., in order to be able to accompany her husband on reassignment back to Germany. After three years at Augsburg, Germany, her husband was again reassigned to duty at Fort Knox, Ky. In 1961, her husband was reassigned to Charleston, W.Va., and in 1963, they moved to another assignment at Vicenza, Italy. In early 1966, her husband retired from the United States Army after more than 20 years of service, and they settled in El Dorado Springs, where they lived for the past 42 years.
Gertrude was a homemaker and after her own children grew up and left home, she worked a few years at the tent factory in Nevada, and then at a shirt factory in El Dorado Springs. Her hobbies included doing crossword puzzles, reading, knitting, going to shows in Branson, and caring for her grandchildren while they were growing up.
Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Lothar Steinle and Gunther Steinle. She is survived by her husband of the home in El Dorado Springs; her grandson, John Scott Ronlund and his wife Tracy, of Grants Pass, Ore., and grandson Brian Edward Ronlund and his wife Dana, of Eureka, Calif., both of whom are sons of her deceased older daughter, Mary, who died on Feb. 22, 2008; her daughter Carol Stephens; grandson Jacob Hal Stephens and his wife Rheanna, and two step-great-grandchildren, Kylee and Mylee; grandson Jordan Theodore Stephens and his wife Crystal, and their sons Jordan Clay and Anthony Ray, all of Joplin; and her son Dale Edward Heitz and his wife Terri; grandson Cliff Ryan Heitz and his wife Michelle, and their son, Parker Ryan, all of El Dorado Springs; and her only granddaughter, Ashley Renae Heitz, of Stockton.Gertrude is also survived by one sister-in-law, Karla Steinle, and a niece Sabine Hollingar and her family living in Germany.
Gertrude made friends very easliy and many of them everywhere she lived. She died in a skilled nursing care center where everything possible was done to make her comfortable, all to no avail. She was aresident of El Dorado Springs for the past 42 years and leaves a legacy of many admirable traits and genes which she passes along to the surviving children and grandchildren she brought into this world, then nurtured and guided during their young lives. She always lived in God's ways and was a consistent, faithful, lifelong, member of the Lutheran faith.
Services were held at Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home, in El Dorado Springs, at 2 p.m., on Jan. 13, with pastor Kimberly Osborne of the St. Paul's Lutheran Church, in Nevada, officiating. Burial followed in the family plot at Worsley Cemetery, in rural Bronaugh. Mo., under the direction of Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home.
Pallbearers were: Jacob Stephens, Jordan Stephens, Scott Ronlund, Brian Ronlund, Cliff Heitz, Ashley Heitz and Randy Bobbett.