TRAVISS, GERTRUDE “GERTIE” MARIE – 90 – Retired Educator
WINTER HAVEN -- Mrs. Gertrude "Gertie" Marie Traviss and her late husband, Maynard Traviss, who founded Traviss Vocational Technical Center, were both educators in the Polk County area for many years. The retired elementary school teacher died of heart and lung failure Tuesday (Feb. 3, 2004) at her son's home. She was 90.
"She started at Central Grammar, which sat right where the post office is now," her son, James Traviss of Winter Haven, said. "She loved kids. Even at 90 years old, when she was walking through the grocery store, she couldn't keep her eyes off kids. She had to stop and talk to them.
" Born in Wakefield, Mich., on May 12, 1913, she met her husband while she was attending Michigan State Normal Institute, now Eastern Michigan University, and he was a graduate assistant at the University of Michigan. The couple came to Winter Haven from Ypsilanti, Mich., in 1945.
Mrs. Traviss worked for the Polk County School Board for at least 30 years, teaching primarily first, second and third grades in several Winter Haven schools including Brigham Elementary and Lake Elbert Elementary, where she retired in the early 1970’s. "I don't think she ever raised her voice, but she had a very good sense of humor," James Traviss said. "She was a wonderful mother-in-law as well, to both of her daughters-in-law and her son-in-law. It was easy to fall in love with her. She was good to them and they were good to her." For many years, the couple enjoyed visiting their place in the mountains in Switzerland, N.C. Mrs. Traviss also enjoyed playing the piano. She was an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Winter Haven, where she sang in the choir.
Mrs. Traviss was preceded in death by her husband, Maynard A. Traviss, in 1993.
In addition to her son, she is survived by her son, Jack M. Traviss, Winter Haven; daughter, Grayson Smith, Macon, Ga.; sister, Lila Hill, Wakefield, Mich.; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren.
Services will be Saturday at First Presbyterian Church of Winter Haven. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Ave., Auburndale, 33823, or the memorial fund at First Presbyterian Church of Winter Haven. Ott-Laughlin Funeral Home, Auburndale. - Ledger, February 5, 2004