Gertrude Caroline Catob (1916-1999)

Gertrude Caroline Catob Howse Carmer
Grandma Carmer, 1935
Born:9 May 1916 Harbor Springs, Michigan
Died:27 Mar 1999 Harbor Springs, Michigan
Father:Johann Adolph Chudobba
Mother:Caroline Luise Christiane Schwerdtfeger
SiblingsKarl August Johann Catob
Frieda Marie Catob
Gertrude Caroline Catob
Helene Isobel Catob
Married:21 Dec 1935 Harbor Springs, Michigan
Spouse:Clifford LeRoy Howse
Children:Gertrude Joanne Howse
Karlene Joyce Howse
Arnold Leroy Howse
Letter to a Granddaughter

July 1992
Dear Annette,

I'm sorry I didn't respond to your questionaire you sent me quite some time ago. I just ran onto it while looking through some papers. I will list things as you have.

One time Aunt Helene took both her and mine dolls that our father brought us from Germany in 1923. The buggy tipped over and of course both were smashed all to pieces. They were Dresden dolls.

Another time when I was around seven or eight and I took a pretty green velvet purse that my girl friend received for her birthday. The girls father asked our teacher to watch for it. The teacher came to our house or to my Aunt Frieda's who helped take care of us after our mother died and I think she told my father and I got a whipping with my father's razor strap.

I never dated with anyone but Grandpa Howse. He always came down to the Court House yard to play with eight or ten other kids. Then we started meeting at the library. We decided to go to the Prom up at the high school, so I had to teach him how to dance. We practiced up at his house with the record, "It's Three O'Clock in the Morning."

I went with Grandpa all through High School. Grandpa of course had to quit school in the 11th grade as they couldn't afford to buy his clothes and books. I graduated in June and we were married the following December twenty-first.
I wore my Prom dress for the wedding. It was royal blue and white satin and my stepmother had made it.
We were married up at Clifford's home and Rena and Harold Dunkley made a lattice arch and had pots of red plants set around it.

My girl friend and her husband stood up with us too.


We, Grandpa and I, had painted his room and made it nice though. We had a kerosene heater that we would light about an hour before going up to bed.

Cliff and Gertrude
Times were really hard at that time, jobs were available but few and far between. The Dunkley's that stood up with us were friends of Mother Howse and Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Dent. Grandpa started working in their Greenhouse which was called Renolda after both of them, Rena and Harold.

Joanne was born up at Grandma Howse's as we were living with her. When Joanne was 9 months old my stepmother loaned us the money to buy our little house on 3rd street.

Our furniture consisted of what we got from Aunt Frieda, Aunt Edna and Carl Schwerdtfeger, my mother's sister and brother. Our kitchen table was a card table and Grandpa and I covered the top with oil cloth and I made pads for the chairs to match. We both were thrilled to death, to have our own home.

Karlene was born two years later up at Grandma Howse's so we were up there for two weeks. Grandma Howse was a midwife and a very good one.

Two and a half years later, your father was born, but down in our house with Grandma Howse attending as usual. (Dr. Franks was the only Doctor I had and he charged twenty-five dollars for a delivery.)

When Arnold was about four years old Grandpa quit the Greenhouse and went to work at the Tannery in Kegomic about where Giant is now. He worked there until it closed up. Then he worked for the Harbor Tackle Company, which was right across from our house. From there he went to Perm-Alum and was the foreman in the molding department. Worked there until he got sick in November 1957.

Joanne was married the February before and lived in the apartment. They had Monica in July so Grandpa got to hold the baby as he was home from the hospital at the time. Joanne took after Grandpa's family and loved to Deer hunt and fish with him.

Karlene was opposite disposition. She was very outgoing, talkative and loved to dress up and go to fancy places. Both girls worked on Harbor Point when they were 14 and 15 year olds.

Arnold was a homebody and enjoyed his own room. He knew every kind of car and had a scrapbook of them.  Enjoyed his trumpet which we bought him when he was in the 5th grade and played in the band. He was small for his age and decided football would make him bigger and tougher I guess, so played in his Junior year.

All three children played in the school band all four years and Arnold seven years. I think. He was 1st Trumpeter.

Karlene and Arnold both got married the second year after their father died.  Arnold married Joanne in September and Karlene married Denny Marsh in November.

Karlene and Denny lived in our apartment for one year and then moved to Big Rapids.

I was a widow nine years, then I met Jerry Carmer at work, which was at the same shop where Clifford was foreman of the foundry. Jerry was foreman of the Tool Room. He asked me to go out to dinner the second week after I started to work. We went steady for three months and got married and then Jerry decided I should quit as the work was too heavy. Jerry retired at sixty-two and we enjoyed many trips From back east to Karl and Helene's to California to Louise and Marilyn's, my cousins who had moved there when Joanne was about six years old.

We also went to Germany in 1971 with Karl and Agnes and Freida and Irwin. We visited with my cousins and my father's brother, his wife and daughter Maria. Another cousin Helmuto and wife Ilsa and Joahannas and Segred and boys. Then to Koln to visit Uncle Otto and wife. Had a Chudobba Reunion in Tonashied and met more cousins. Met Maria's sister Ina and her husband and three girls from Wales.

In the past five years I haven't done too much socially. Made a few trips down to Karlene and Denny's and Beverly's. Beverly is Jerry's only child and she has always thought alot of me and I of her.

This past year Myrtle and I have been going over to Clifford's youngest sister Sylvia's as she hasn't been well and can't drive.  This past May 30th, my oldest grandchild Monica Swiss Steinmeyer had a baby boy and I went down to care for both baby and Mom for one and a half weeks. Being down at Monica's I missed attending Jody's graduation but I had made him an afgan like I have made for all my grandchildren.

At present, I belong to two Clubs, the Care Facility Auxiliary and the Visiting Club.  I volunteer to help folding the bulletins at our church. I still crochet for all the new babies in the family and making afgans.

I hope you can follow my trend of thought Annette and I'm sorry I waited so long.  Hope you are all well.

All my Love,

Grandma Howse Carmer


The Petoskey News-Review, Friday, May 28, 1999:

Gertrude Howse Carmer, 83

Gertrude Howse Carmer, 83, of Harbor Springs, died May 27, 1999, at the Emmet County Medical Care Facility. Gertrude was born May 9, 1916, in Harbor Springs, to John and Caroline (Schwerdtfeger) Catob. She graduated from Harbor Springs High School in 1935.

On Dec. 21, 1935, Gertrude married Clifford Howse in Harbor Springs. He preceded her in death Aug. 22, 1957. They are survived by two daughters, Joanne (Gerry) Swiss of Harbor Springs, Karlene (Dennis) Marsh of Manistee; one son, Arnold Howse, of Petoskey.

In May of 1965, Gertrude married Gerald "Jerry" Carmer in Harbor Springs. He preceded her in death Sept. 28, 1986. His daughter, Beverly (Lee) Dennison, of Muskegon survives.

She was preceded in death by a grandson, Wade Swiss, in 1994.

Gertrude is also survived by 16 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and stepgreat-grandchildren.
She also leaves behind her dear companion and sister-in-law, Myrtle Ward, and dear friend and caregiver, Marcella Fisher.

Gertrude belonged to the Child Study (Visiting Club) for more than 55 years. She was a member of the Harbor Springs Presbyterian Church all her life, and put many hours into helping fold bulletins and was a member of the choir for many years. In recent years, Gertrude assisted Harbor Springs Grange in making quilts and other sewing projects. She was a member of the Emmet County Medical Care Facility Auxiliary.

Gertrude was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother and also cooked on Harbor Point and worked at Perm-Alum Industries.

Funeral will be 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 29, at the Presbyterian Church of Harbor Springs with Thomas Cook officiating. Interment will be in Lakeview Cemetery.

Friends may call at the church beginning at 11 a.m.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to Emmet County Medical Care Facility, Hospice of Little Traverse Bay, or Presbyterian Church.

Arrangements were handled by Schiller Funeral Chapel.


*Personal knowledge of Gertrude Catob Howse Carmer

*1930 Federal Census, Harbor Springs, Emmet, Michigan
                Catob, John A., head
                         , Gertrude C., daughter, female, white, 13, single, MI, Ger, Ger

*1st Marriage: Emmet County, Michigan, Vital Records Search, Marriages:
          HOWSE, Clifford & CATOB, Gertrude
          Date: 12/21/1935
          Liber: 5
          Folio: 67

*2nd Marriage: Emmet County, Michigan, Vital Records Search, Marriages:
          CARMER, Gerald B. & HOWSE, Gertrude C.
          Date: 5/1/1965
          Liber: 1965
          Folio: 46

*Death: Emmet County, Michigan, Vital Records Search, Deaths:
          CARMER, Gertrude C.
          Date: 5/27/1999
          Liber: 1999
          Folio: 176
          Place of Death: Harbor Springs, Michigan

*Obituary: ''The Petoskey News-Review'', Fridah, May 28, 1999

*Letter from Gertrude to grand-daughter Annette Marie Howse in July 1992.

*Death, Burial: Telephone calls from Darby Lee Howse Robison, Thursday, May 27 and Sunday, May 30, 1999.

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