Volume 17, Number 47 | April 15 — 21, 2005


Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

Gertrude Gomez, 74, longtime Soho crossing guard

By Albert Amateau

Gertrude Gomez, who spent 23 years as a crossing guard at Prince and MacDougal Sts. guiding children to and from St. Anthony of Padua School, died on April 10 at St. Vincent’s Hospital after a short illness at the age of 74.

Known as Gertie to two generations of children, whom she referred to as “my kids,” and their parents, her smile was a beacon on school–day mornings, noon recesses and dismissal times at the Father Fagin triangle intersection until last year.

In an October 2003 profile of Gomez in The Villager, a mother of two children said that she didn’t remember a school day without Gertie. “Every morning, every day, she greets me by my first name. Rain, shine, cold, hot, she’s always there,” the mother said.

Gomez took the job as a school crossing guard (at a then-respectable $4.26 per hour) when her printing company job was phased out and she didn’t want to retire at the age of 49. She said in 2003 that she took a two-week crossing guard training course, but mostly that she guarded the crossing by commonsense. “I raise my hand and they stop,” she said.

She never had an accident on her watch, but there were a few close calls — one about eight years ago when a speeding driver almost hit her. Then there was the time a big dog clamped his jaws around her foot. But except for the uniform (the white sash went out and the iridescent traffic vest replaced it) and the pay ($10.65 per hour plus health benefits), the job remained the same for a new generation of children and parents. Mothers began showing her wedding pictures of the children she had crossed 20 years earlier.

Born Gertrude Moore in Hell’s Kitchen, she moved to Soho after she married Louis Gomez. He is a patient at St. Vincent’s Hospital and was admitted before his wife became ill recently, according to the family.

In addition to her husband, her stepdaughter, Diana Parra, two grandchildren and two sisters, Evelyn Gallagher and Helen LoConti, also survive.

Perazzo Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements. The funeral was on April 14 at St. Anthony of Padua Church and burial was in Calverton Cemetery on Long Island.

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