She's described as being everybody's grandma, her life claimed in a fire on New Year's Day along with three other family members. A pillar of the community who provided food, shelter and love for many children in her nearly 70 years.
The Pete and Johnson families are banning together during this traumatic time. Friday they opened up about one woman in particular, 69 year old Gertrude Pete or as everyone calls her, Grandma Gert. Friday afternoon her husband, children, daughter in laws, grandchildren, and children she claimed as her own, filed through pictures and memories of Grandma Gert.
Words like honest, kind, forgiving and above all unfailing love were often used. Grandma Gert had six biological children but through her 69 years of life she welcomed dozens of children into her home and helped raise many that now call her mother.
Shemeiko Byrd witnessed her grandmother provide not only shelter but love to dozens in need, "She was Grandma Gert to everybody. I don't have anywhere to stay; I don't know what I'm going to do, well baby come on in. You always have something to eat. She was just always there. Always." Pete's mother; Ruth Pete, Mother-in-Law Sarah Johnson and sister Cynthia Pete also died in the fire.
If you would like to donate to the families in need, Regions Bank has set up an account called the Pete Family Fire Victim Fund. A donation drop off location for food and clothing is 4169 Old Cottondale Rd Marianna, FL 32448. Children and adults in need of clothing range in sizes S-XL.