Cover photo for Eva Maria Gabrielle Gerdts (Szelenyi)'s Obituary
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Eva

Eva Maria Gabrielle Gerdts (Szelenyi)

d. February 4, 2010

died on February 4, 2010, after a 13 month struggle with Non Small-cell Adenocarcinoma. She was just a few days shy of her 61st birthday.Eva was born on February 18, 1949, in Langenargen, Germany, which in near the Austrian and Swiss border in southern Germany. She was the only child of Bela and Liesel Szelenyi. She emigrated from Germany with her parents in January of 1952, becoming a naturalized US citizen on June 3, 1957. Her family lived first in New Jersey and then moved to Maine, where she graduated from the St. Joseph's Academy in Portland, Maine, as the Class of 1967 valedictorian. She attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, majoring in Art History and Creative Art. There she met her husband, George Gerdts, during freshman orientation in the fall of 1967. They were married in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in September 1970.Eva was a fashion model after graduating from Brown in 1971. She dabbled inphotography throughout the 1970s, developing a love affair with the camera that continued throughout her life. Her only child, Caitlin Elisabeth Gerdts, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in September of 1980.Eva became a full-time Mom after Caitlin was born. George and Eva moved to Seattle in 1982 and settled on Bainbridge Island in October of 1983. Eva fully embraced the Bainbridge community, becoming active in BPA, The Montessori Country School, and other organizations that catered to the needs of children.When Caitlin entered third grade, Eva took a job with the United States Postal Service here on Bainbridge Island so that she could be home when Caitlin got finished with her school day. Her willingness to go the extra "mile" in providing service to her customers, along with her wonderful smile and endearing personality made her a cherished "mail woman"!!She would cite being with the founding group of people who started Hyla Middle School as one of the top experiences in her life. She was a natural dreamer who had visions of how things could be. Her creativity and enthusiasm for education and all its potential has been realized in the amazing community of learning that Hyla Middle School has become.After retiring from the USPS in 2004, she pursued her life-long love of photography, traveling with her family to Hawaii, Texas, the Grand Canyon, New England, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Africa, and Europe. She loved taking long walks on the Island, always with her camera ready at hand. Community service was also dear to Eva, and over the past few years she worked with BITV and the Sound Food's Farmer's Market.She is survived by her father, Bela Szelenyi, from Bainbridge Island; her husband, George Gerdts; and her daughter, Caitlin, a PhD student in Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley. Funeral arrangements are being made by the Cook Family Funeral Home. There will be a Funeral Mass at St. Cecelia's Catholic Church on Bainbridge Island on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm.In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the Lung Cancer Alliance. The address is: Lung Cancer Alliance888 16th Street NWSuite 150Washington D.C. 20006 Website: lungcanceralliance.orgA Hopi Prayer, (adopted)…."Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glint on snow. I am the sunlight on the ripened gourd. I am the gentle autumn's rain. When you awaken in the morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am soft stars that shine at night. I am the flute-song of the Hermit Thrush at dawn. After a storm, I am the rainbow that paints the sky. Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die….em

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