Gertrude MacQueen

We were so excited to have Gert come and model for us in our Tinted Botany Collection. She is 93 years old and was so excited to come and dress up with us.

We love her story and thought it was fitting for International Women’s Day to share it with you!

Gertrude MacQueen is a nearly 93 year old powerhouse of energy, warmth, enthusiasm and charm. Born in the Pacific Northwest to poor, 1st generation immigrant parents, she literally lifted herself up by the bootstraps to create a life of personal purpose and direction from a very young age. A child of the Great Depression, she saved money to train as a nurse during the early years of WW II. At the hospital she met and married a handsome young doctor who then promptly went to war for three years. On his return, they moved to the Midwest, soon to Iowa City and started a family that would quickly expand in 10 years to six children.

After dedicating herself to motherhood until the youngest was in school, she then returned to nursing eventually as a surgical intensive care nurse until her retirement. During her working life, she also embraced politics with a passion. For years she was a co-chairwoman for the state of Iowa Democratic Party and ran state-level presidential campaigns for the Kennedy brothers and other democratic candidates during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Though largely self educated, Gertrude, was always an erudite and dynamic speaker. She is still an avid reader and lover of art.

Throughout her life, Gertrude excelled at many activities including community theatre, various social clubs, as a docent at museum, a volunteer at public library, an activist for heritage trees foundation, a traveler to foreign lands and a wonderful hostess no matter the occasion. Gertrude has always been a bit of a ‘clothes horse’ and continues to have a definite flair in her attire and appreciation for beautiful, well made clothes.

Married to her husband John, until his death in 2007, Gertrude is a proud mother, grandmother and even great grandmother …all of whom call her ‘Gert’ and NOT ‘grandma’ at her request. She continues to live in her own home in Iowa City with help from family members. Meeting Gertrude is a memorable experience. Her obvious joy of living and love for people is captivating. Gertrude MacQueen is an inspiration for how rich a life can be; how diverse interests and passionate social engagement can help keep you vital and strong for a lifetime of exploration and personal development.

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