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Gertie Tillmann, 89, had many cats

17 Jan

Gertrude Ethyl Tillmann of Boynton Beach, Fa. died on Wednesday, Jan. 16. She was 89. She was the seventh of eleven daughters to the late Edna Plotz and Enrique Tillmann. Ms. Tillmann’s husband, Bert Tillmann, died 14 years ago in a bizarre typewriter accident.

A 1943 graduate of Cornell University, Ms. Tillmann was a stay-at-home mother of three boys. In 1974, Ms. Tillmann forced Bert to move to Boynton Beach because of her debilitating fear of snow.

In her later years, Ms. Tillmann began raising cats in her home to fill her time. “They give me love and affection,” she told Cat Fancy in 2002. “My sons never call, so I talk to the cats.”

Animal Control specialist Tom Peters visited her many times at her home. “She always offered us cake,” he recalled. “Her house smelled like a giant cat.”

Ms. Tillmann was also a frequent patron of the Boynton Beach public library and was very involved in library affairs. She served for 5 years as the president of the “Don’t Get Rid of the Typewriters” club and served for 4 years as president of the “We Refuse to Learn How to Use the Computers” club.

Nancy Rhudy, head librarian since 1986 remembers Gertie’s  consistent presence. “She really was against changing anything about the library,” she said. “When we replaced the card catalog with the digital system, we found her three days later clinging to one in a dumpster for dear life.”

A private service was held today near her eldest son’s home in California.

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