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Gertrude "Gertie" Christina Zottola

August 12, 1931 May 20, 2019
Gertrude "Gertie" Christina Zottola
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Obituary for Gertrude "Gertie" Christina Zottola

Gertrude Christina (Jepsen) Zottola passed away May 20th at the age of 87, surrounded by her loving children, in their family home in Hiouchi, CA. “Gertie” as she was known by family and friends is survived by her seven children, eleven grandchildren, six greatgrandchildren, sister Gretchen (Smedley), half-brother Jack Tedsen, sister-in-law Grace Cooper, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband Gerardo (Jerry), and sister Christina Jepsen.

Gertie was born in Bandon Oregon in 1931 to Nis and Antonia Jepsen. Antonia (Toni) had a surprise as Gertrude was quickly followed by her twin sister Gretchen. The family soon moved to Fort Dick, CA and Nis began the Jepsen Family Dairy Ranch, later to be passed on to his step sons Harry, Paul, and Jack Tedsen. Christina Jepsen followed in a few years to round out the family.

Gertie, Gretchen, and Christina were known throughout Del Norte and Humboldt Counties as the singing Jepsen Sisters and were frequently asked to perform at various events. Gertie and Jerry met for the first time as children when Ernie and Mary Zottola visited the family dairy to introduce themselves as the owners of the cheese factory in Crescent City (Zottola Brothers Cheese Factory later to become Rumiano Cheese). Unbeknownst to her, as adults Jerry would later chase her in the school bus he was driving, which was a wonder he caught her as she was speeding about the county in a ”55 Red Ford Convertible.” Gertie and Jerry were married for fifty-eight years and lifelong residents of Del Norte County.

Gertie was an accomplished Pianist who studied music at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Gertie always had a piano in her home and frequently played, many tunes from heart. Even up to a few weeks before she passed, you could hear the music flow through her fingers. Music was always a part of her life whether she was playing, listening, singing, or dancing. It made her happy.

The Zottola home in Hiouchi is known by many as just “Zotts.” It is a place recognized as welcoming, inviting, and a fun place to be; a family atmosphere that Gertie and Jerry loved to share. If you have ever been to a “Zottola” party, you know that Gertie was the perfect hostess. From the famous Crab Cioppinos to a simple pot of stew, there was always plenty to go around and enough for anyone who popped by at supper time. That is what Gertie always wanted her home to be; the place where all were welcome and the only thing she required was for people to have a good time.

Gertie loved when the Spring and Summer seasons came, so she could plant her flowers, and work in her vegetable garden. There was never a harvesting season that Gertie didn’t can her crop of fruits and vegetables, a passion she passed to her children. She loved the summers and couldn’t wait for the Smith River to warm up for swimming. Many a summer she could be seen at the Jedidiah Smith State Park with her 7 kids and numerous inner tubes.

Gertie is survived by her children: Tony, Lodi, CA; Tina O’Neill (Jeffrey), Hiouchi, CA; Gretchen Zottola-Sancier (Gregory), Campbell, CA; Tami, Gasquet, CA; Timothy, Hiouchi, CA; Trudi Gugliemini (Richard), Hiouchi, CA; and Gina, Gasquet, CA.

To her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren Gertie was known as “Gros mutter.” Her grandchildren are: Talia Zottola (Tony); Tyler Zottola (Tony) and wife Desiree; Riley Zottola (Tony); Justin Zottola (Tony); Kiley Zottola (Tony); Grant and Mitchell Sancier (Gretchen); Brittney, Amanda, and Lucas Gugliemini (Trudi); and, Mersedes Zottola (Timothy).

Greatgrandchildren: Avery and Ella Arazm (Talia); Ashton and Tristen Zottola (Tyler and Desiree); and, Anthony and Aubrey Rodriguez (Mersedes).

Gertie’s smile, generosity, sense of style, and her love of a good time will be missed by all who knew or met her.

In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made in her name to the Del Norte Scholarship Foundation, 301 W Washington Blvd., Crescent City, CA 95531

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




2:00 PM 6/2/2019 2:00:00 PM
Grace Lutheran Church

188 East Cooper Avenue
Crescent City, CA 95531

Grace Lutheran Church
188 East Cooper Avenue Crescent City 95531 CA
United States

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