Gertie Gardner Eicks
Six years prior to Arizona becoming a state, a sweet baby girl by the name of Gertie, was born to cattle ranchers, William and Carrie Gardner of Douglas, Ariz.; 106 years later, this precious woman finally went home to spend eternity with her Heavenly Father.
Gertie was born and raised on the Gardner T6 Ranch at Lee Station 10 miles north of Douglas. Douglas would be home to Gertie for all but six months of her life. When Gertie was just five years of age, her mother passed away; leaving all the chores of a grown women to her. Gertie had five full brothers Kearney, Willis, Gabe, Gilbert and Berry and one half brother, Bob. We visited the homestead a few years back; Gertie reminisced: “This is the old stone house that I grew up in and this is where Frantz and I married…When I was a little girl I used to stand right here in the kitchen on a stool and pat out biscuits…And see those trees… I hauled water to them from the old hand dug well…I can’t believe they’re still standing. This is where I would scrub our clothes…That wasn’t much fun in those days. Life was hard back then, but it was good.”
Then, with a smile, she gave God the glory and praise for taking care of their needs and blessing her richly. The Gardner boys were well known for their fast horses. But on occasion, when they lost a horse race, her dad would match her in foot races to win back his money. Needless to say, she had a reputation of being quite the athlete in high school. Her favorite sport was basketball.
On October 7, 1922, and at the tender age of 16, Gertie married the love of her life, Frantz Lee Eicks. Frantz was a handsome rugged cowpuncher that swept her off her feet at a dance right there in the old adobe barn on the family ranch. They moved into Douglas and left their ranch wage of $3.50 per month behind for more suitable work. It wasn’t long before they had their one and only child, Edward Ray Eicks. Then came the purchase of their own plumbing and sheet metal business, Eicks Plumbing. Together they lovingly served the people of their community for years to come. After Gertie’s father died, the family ranch sold, but in no time, they were able to buy it back. One of Gertie’s fondest memories. Gertie always called herself, “An ole’ country girl”. She loved ranch life and always had a soft spot for rural people. Her family was very active in rodeo when it was going strong in Douglas and Southeastern Arizona.
Gertie was an “open history book” and never ran out of accurate detailed accounts of various happenings. Dancing was right at the top of her list of favorite past times. She was an accomplished seamstress, quilter and could crochet with the best of them. She belonged to many clubs; The Cowbelles, Rucker Homemakers and Douglas Lunch Bunch to name just a few. She was a volunteer at the hospital and provided a “taxi and errand service” to numerous friends until she was in her nineties. But the dearest thing to her heart was her Lord and Savior. Gertie was an active member of the Bisbee Seventh Day Adventist Church and had many fond memories of church family, and cherished the many years that both her and Frantz taught Sunday school and led Bible studies in their home. Gertie would always end a visit with a heart-felt expressions of love…reminding us of how blessed she was to have the love of her family and so many friends…But we were the ones that were truly blessed…She touched so many lives. This precious Godly woman will be missed! Gertie’s life was amazing and what she experienced in her lifetime was nothing short of remarkable.
“We thank you Lord for her and rejoice that she is home in glory with you.” Gertie was preceded in death by her parents, brothers and husband Frantz Eicks; son, Edward Eicks (Ruby Mae) and niece Betty Jo Kuykendall. Survivors include grandson Jack Eicks (Rhea) of Parowan, Utah; great grandson, Shane Eicks (Jennifer and children Lincoln and Liam) of St. George, Utah, great granddaughter, Adrianne Eicks of Texas. Nephew, Tom Kuykendall of Rucker Canyon, Ariz.; great niece, Tammy Sue Smith (Steven) of Rucker Canyon, Ariz.; great nephew William Marlin Kuykendall of Tucson, Ariz., great great niece Shaye Lynn Clemson (Tyler and children; Hagen Chase, Riley Jo and Grady Lee ) of Sunizona, Ariz., great great nephew Will Smith (Trisha and children; Cutter Bill and Reinie Mae to arrive any day) of Patagonia, Ariz., and great great nephew Chance Smith (engaged to Illiana Camacho) of Rucker Canyon, Ariz.
A memorial graveside service and celebration of Gertie’s life is planned for Friday, October 19, 2012 in Douglas at 2 p.m. at the Julia Page Calvary Memorial Cemetery (1301 3rd Street) followed by fellowship and refreshments at The Cowbelle’s (Southeast Corner of 10th Street and Pan American Avenue).
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that you consider making a contribution in Gertie’s name to: Casa de Angeles, 424 W. Kaibab Way, Cochise, AZ 85606. On line condolences may be extended to the family at www.westlawnchapelmortuary.com Services entrusted to Westlawn Chapel, Mortuary and Crematory of Willcox, Ariz.