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Glendale supercentenarian Gertrude Ness dies at 110

Gertrude Ness

Gertrude Ness, who recently turned 110 years old, poses for a portrait at her home in Glendale on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Ness’ birthday was on April 22.

(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

Gertrude Ness, Glendale’s renowned supercentenarian, died on Aug. 28, about four months after turning 110 on April 22.

In the company of friends and family, Gertrude Ness passed away peacefully in her sleep, said her daughter, Jo Ness.

“She was weak, but not ill. Her heart was good. Her lungs were good. She ate well. She just got weaker and weaker with age,” Jo Ness said.

The News-Press visited Gertrude Ness in her home in June when Glendale Mayor Paula Devine presented her with a key to the city.


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Gertrude Ness and Glendale Mayor Paula Devine

Glendale Resident Gertrude Ness, born in 1906, received the key to the city and an official commendation from Mayor Paula Devine.

(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

Gertrude Ness was born on April 22, 1906, to a family who ran a farm in Minnesota.

Jo Ness said her mother often attributed her longevity “to being raised on a farm with homegrown food,” she said. “They had cows, and pigs and chickens. [And a] big vegetable garden. They canned their vegetables.”


Gertrude Ness also told the News-Press in June that she never smoked or drank.

After meeting her husband, Peder, in Minnesota, the couple would have two daughters, Jo Ness and Dianne De Geer.

After moving to California in the early 1940s, Gertrude Ness worked on B-17 bombers at Burbank’s former Lockheed Vega plant.

She’d later work for decades in early childhood education in Glendale Unified.

When she retired in 1973, she remained active in local clubs and organizations, such as the California Retired Teachers Assn., the Sons of Norway, the Glendale Coordinating Council and the Glendale YWCA board of directors.

She was also active with the Altrusa Club of Glendale, and the Women’s Civic League and the Women’s Committee of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra and the Glendale Republican Women Federated, among other groups.

At age 107, during a Patron’s Club fashion show luncheon in Burbank, a room of 250 people gave Gertrude Ness a standing ovation.

Of all that she had seen and lived through in the course of her 110-year life, Gertrude Ness recalled in June what it meant to her when she became a mother.


“My favorite event in history? I suppose when the girls were born,” Gertrude Ness said. “That was great, to have daughters. I think that’s perhaps one of the most important times of my life.”


Kelly Corrigan,

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan


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