1925 – 2015

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Gertrude W. Cantwell, 90, of 1261 NW 193rd Ave., Pembroke Pines, Fla., died Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, at the Christallis Manor in Hollywood, Fla.

Born in Queens, N.Y., on April 18, 1925, she was the daughter of Bernard and Winifred Geary Whalen. She grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor of Arts in education and minor in music. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher in New York. On Dec. 26, 1949, she married Herbert E. Cantwell. She and Herb moved to their beloved state of Maine in 1957 where they reveled in welcoming family and friends to visit until Herb’s death on June 15, 2003.

Gertrude worked as an elementary school teacher, teaching second grade at St. Joseph’s School in Lewiston for many years, retiring in 1974. Her proudest moment was receiving a standing ovation from the students and faculty at St. Josephs when she retired. She was always humbled when past students would seek her out to introduce their own families over the years.

Gertrude enjoyed life’s simplest pleasures. She was an avid pianist and could sing harmony. She loved the ocean and would delight in educating anyone who would listen about nature. She became an accomplished artist and focused upon watercolor painting. She was thrilled to display her masterpieces at local art fairs. Her unpretentious wisdom was shared with all who met her: “leave places cleaner than when you arrived, always wear a smile and just do your best.” She had sometimes been thought of as “fragile Gertie,” but she conquered lymphoma with a vengeance.

She was devastated to leave Maine, yet she knew that moving to Florida would allow her to be closer to family. Gertrude was dearly loved by so many friends and colleagues over the years. Time and distance led to challenges in remaining connected.

Family survivors include a daughter, G. Patricia Cantwell, MD, and spouse, Dolores Serrecchia, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.; a sister, Joan Boegel of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; two grandsons, Justin and Brandon Serrecchia; and three great-grandchildren, Neiko Serrecchia, Ava Serrecchia and Emily Keith. Gertrude’s family survivors include her nieces, nephews and their families, Emily and Jim Buchanan, Peter Boegel, Loretta and Phil Turmel, Ceil and Andy Baum, and Tom and Elizabeth Boegel.

Her older sister Florence is predeceased.

Condolences and service directions may be found online at www.albert-burpee.com.

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