Gertrude Moebius Mothersele Ali passed away peacefully June 4, 2014, at the age of 89. She had been a resident of Cutchogue and Mattituck for 50 years and a summer resident of Cutchogue since childhood. She died from complications of cancer at Peconic Landing in Greenport.
She was born in Nutley, N.J., on Dec. 8, 1924, the second of four children of Agnes and Charles Mothersele. Her father, an immigrant from England, was a golf pro, and her mother later became one of the Peconic Bay Impressionist painters. Gertrude was a 10th generation descendent of the Rev. John Youngs, first settler and founder of Southold Town.
Gertrude lived in Nutley through high school, summering in Cutchogue at the large home her grandfather Kurt Moebius had built on Fleet’s Neck in 1917. She attended Maryland College for Women, during which time she worked part time at a psychiatric hospital. After that, she commuted from Nutley to New York City to work for Johns-Manville Corp., first as a mail girl, then as a secretary. While working there she took engineering classes at New York University. She then worked at Syracuse University and Dixie Paper Cup Company as an assistant quality control consultant with Edward A. Reynolds, who became her first husband. They married in 1948 and had three children, one of whom died shortly after birth.
Before moving to Mattituck in 1964, Gertrude, Edward and their two children lived in Ligonier, Pa., for about 10 years. During that time, they spent every summer in Cutchogue at Gertrude’s mother’s home, known as the “Big House,” often with her sisters and brother and their children. There was no television, and evenings would find her, her mother, and her sister Charlotte playing Scrabble after drinks on the porch overlooking Peconic Bay (often while shelling peas or husking corn) and dinner with the children. Her children remember her reading and singing songs to them every night at bedtime.
After Gertrude’s first marriage ended, she married Frank Ali on May 7, 1974. They enjoyed dancing and traveling together, and lived in Brookville, N.Y., for a number of years. In 1985, they built a house on part of the family land in Fleet’s Neck, Cutchogue, where Gertrude lived until shortly before her death.
Gertrude, “Gert” to her family, was a talented pianist all her life, playing classical compositions from memory through her 89th year. She loved horseback riding as a young woman, and would save her money to go to the Cimarron Ranch in Putnam Valley, N.Y., on weekends. She enjoyed sailing and tennis. She taught Sunday school and was a Brownie leader. As a member of the North Fork Community Theatre in the 1960s, Gertrude appeared in many plays including “Blythe Sprit” and “Mary Mary.”
Like her mother, Agnes Mothersele, she enjoyed painting, especially in the Sumi-e style of Japanese watercolor brush painting. She was skilled at bridge and golf and was a member for many years at North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue. She was also a gifted gardener, raising orchids and other exotic flowers, as well as vegetables, year after year from her own seeds.
Fit and active her whole life, as recently as last summer Gertrude could be seen swimming daily in Peconic Bay, and she was a frequent patron of Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library and local seminars.
She was predeceased by her daughter Susan; her husbands, Edward Reynolds and Frank Ali; her sisters, Janet Melot and Charlotte Lynn; and her brother, John Mothersele. She is survived by her daughter Honor Reynolds of Durango, Colo.; her son, Chris Reynolds and his wife, Elizabeth Kelly, of Milton, Vt.; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; her sister-in-law, Muriel Mothersele; her brother-in-law, Grant Leslie Lynn; and numerous nieces and nephews in her large and close extended family.
There will be a memorial service later this summer in Cutchogue for friends and family. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cutchogue.
Memorial donations may be sent to Sunshine Society of Southold, P.O. Box 251, Southold, NY 11971; Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library, P.O. Box 935, Cutchogue, NY 11935; or North Fork Community Theatre, P.O. Box 86, Mattituck, NY 11952.
This is a paid notice.