Gertrude Baumgaertner shares her story with the Club
At a recent meeting of the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club, guest and former member Gertrude Baumgaertner shared the inspirational story of her arrival in America from Germany. After years of pleading with her parents to immigrate to the U.S., Baumgaertner finally got her wish at the age of 20 when she landed in New York. Within a year, she had secured a full-time job with General Mills and begun living the American Dream. She and her husband raised three children and owned a successful graphic arts business. While her husband was very active in Rotary, women weren’t allowed as members. However, Baumgaernter said, she worked tirelessly behind the scenes supporting Rotary’s many worthwhile programs. In 1987, women were accepted for membership in many Rotary clubs and Baumgaertner immediately joined. She achieved Paul Harris Fellowship status just one year later and continued to champion numerous Rotary causes, including The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, children’s health programs and ShelterBox. After her husband’s death in 2003, Baumgaernter sold their New York business and retired to the home they had built on Amelia Island. In looking back, she said her life in America has been the fulfillment of all the dreams she had as a young girl in Germany.