Tombstone Tuesday–Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm

Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Gertrude (Heffner) Roehm, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Gertrude Heffner was born 9 June 1865 in Blackcreek Township, near Chattanooga, to George and Sophia (Martin) Heffner. She was baptized at Zion Chatt on 25 June 1865 with Leonhard Beyer and Gertrude Heffner as her sponsors.

Gertrude was probably confirmed at Zion Chatt about 1879, but there is a lapse in the confirmation records between 1877-1882. I cannot imagine that no one was confirmed during those four years, so the names probably did not get written down. There also seems to be a gap in the pastors during that time period. Zion may not have had a permanent pastor then, or one who did not keep up with the church records.

Gertrude grew up west of Chatt and met and married George Adam Roehm, who was from the Willshire area. They were married 21 January 1886 at Zion Chatt by Rev. Karl Adam, Jr.

George Roehm was born 13 March 1862 in Van Wert County near Willshire, the son of Andrew and Friederike (Gutheil) Roehm. After they married they lived in Willshire Township, where George farmed.

They were married only 16 years when George died on 30 May 1901 of dropsy. He was 39 years, 2 months, and 17 days old and was buried in Zion Schumm’s cemetery on 2 June. [1]

Gertrude died at her daughter Edna’s home in Cuyahoga Falls on 6 May 1933. Gertrude’s death was not recorded in Zion Schumm’s records. Her obituary:

Mrs. Gertrude Roehm, many years a resident of Willshire township, died Saturday evening following a lingering illness at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Thomas Alspach, of Cuyahoga Falls. Mrs. Roehm was aged 67 years and is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Alspach and Mrs. Stella Sears, of Cuyahoga Falls, two sons, Edward Roehm, of Convoy and Carl Roehm, of Ohio City, and two brothers, Philip Heffner, of Monroe, and Conrad Heffner, of Rockford. The funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon, at 2:30 o’clock, at the Lutheran Church at Schumm. Interment will be made at the Schumm cemetery. [2]

George and Gertrude had seven children; all were baptized at Zion Schumm:

Eleanore Anna Magdalena (1886-1901)
Selma Sophie (1888-1924), married Fred Althoen
Edwin Andreas (1890-1950), married Alma A. Reidenbach
Carl Georg (1893-1959), married Grace E. Rice
Estella Julia Sophie (1896-1988), married William Chase Winters; married Clarence T. Sears
Marie Friedricke (1899-1901)
Edna Pauline (1901-1991), married Thomas B. Alspaugh

1901 must have been very difficult for Gertrude. She was pregnant and the baby was due in July. Her husband, who was only 39 years old, died in May. Gertrude gave birth to their daughter Edna on 10 July. Two of their other daughters died later that year, Marie in August and Eleanor in October. A very tragic year for the Roehm family.


[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Willshire Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 97, p.9A, dwelling 177, family 190, George Roehm; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 15 February 2015); from FHL microfilm 1241329, from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1329.
[2] “Deaths and Funerals,” Van Wert Daily Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, 8 May 1933, p. 6; digital images by subscription ( : accessed 14 Feb 2015).

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