Meet Carlton Senior Living’s spotlight resident, Gerdi Lynagh — Gerdi was born in 1924 in Hanover, Germany. Her father worked for a company that made leather belts for big machinery and her mother was a happy housewife. Gerdi had one brother who was 15 months her junior and the family lived in a big apartment with many other kids. Gerdi graduated from high school at the age of 16 at which point she had to choose whether to be drafted into the military or work in a factory.
During her time in the military, she attended Radio Operators School in the midst of World War II. After graduating from the program in 1941, she was sent to Lithuania to continue her work with the military. She remained in Lithuania until Russian forces pushed her out and Gerdi was relocated to the headquarters location outside of Berlin. From there, she went to Dusseldorf, Germany located on the bank of the Rhine River. When the Allied Forces made their advance on the Rhine, Gerdi was told by American troops to return home.
She then returned to Hanover where she was then offered a job to work with the Americans. In 1946, Gerdi met her husband, Edmond Lynagh, an American Army soldier. The couple was married in 1948 during the historical Berlin Airlift and the newlywed couple was dramatically flown by the Western Allied Forces from Germany to an Air Force base in New Jersey.
Edmond reenlisted into the Army and was stationed in various locations including Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Korea; Fort Louis, California; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and also France. During Edmond’s 1950 post in Korea, Gerdi opted to stay in the United States and remained in the home of Edmond’s cousin in Washington State while enjoying a break from her career. Gerdi became an American citizen in 1952 and rejoined her husband during his two-year post in Orléans, France and the couple eventually settled in California where they purchased their first home in 1954.
When Gerdi returned to the workforce, she took a position with Koret of California which manufactured women’s clothing. Meanwhile, Edmond took a position with the Federal Reserve Bank. Once Edmond retired in 1958, the pair moved to Hawaii where they enjoyed the tropical weather and beautiful ocean scenery.
While in Hawaii, Gerdi also worked as a volunteer for the American Red Cross and Tripler Army Medical Center where she cared for injured soldiers and assisted in the office of a military hospital for some time.
Gerdi continued working for about twenty years after Edmond’s passing at which point she was promoted from volunteer status to a paid employee until she retired in 2014. In 2016, she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area to be closer to her family and she selected Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill to be her new home. Here, she enjoys visiting with her neighbors and making new friends.
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Written by Patrick Coleman