Gertrude M. Tarnowski (nee Robillard)


Gert Tarnowski, aged 97, of Brooklyn Park, MN, formerly of Duluth, MN, passed away on Saturday, January 2, 2021, surrounded by loving children. She joins her husband of 68 years, Frank Tarnowski, who passed away last November. She is survived by children Susan Tarnowski (David Stamps), Plymouth; Greg Tarnowski, Duluth, Ann Tarnowski, Robbinsdale, David (Allyson Hasselbring) Tarnowski, New Hope, and Pat (Trish Sipe) Tarnowski, Golden Valley; grandchildren Katie Tarnowski, Mankato and partner Brandon Solem, Duluth, Annelise Tarnowski and partner Max Cavett, Des Moines, IA, Chloe Tarnowski, Chicago, IL, Greta Tarnowski, New Hope, Ben (Annabelle Bates) Tarnowski, Grand Forks, ND, Sammi and Ali Tarnowski, Golden Valley; step-grandchildren Chad and Julie (Haugen) Stamps and Jon Stamps, Minneapolis; great grandchildren Haugen and Faye Stamps, Minneapolis; sister-in-law Margie Tarnowski, Hermantown; nephews and cousins in Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona and California and many more friends and relatives who were gathered into the Tarnowski family. Predeceased by her husband, Frank Tarnowski; parents Thomas and Mary Mackowiak Robillard; brother and sister-in-law Thomas and Joyce (Shay) Robillard; and her aunt Gig Mackowiak, a mentor in her life.

Born in Duluth, MN on December 7, 1923, Gert graduated from Denfeld High School. She worked at First American National Bank, later to be Wells Fargo Bank, and married the love of her life, Frank Tarnowski, on August 16, 1952. Gert lived a life of love, caring, and sharing around family, service, and leadership: she donated thousands of hours over 30 years to St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth) staffing the gift shop, producing content for an auxiliary newsletter, and assisting with the development of the Grief Support Center and its Tree of Lights fundraiser. She was a member and President of the Duluth Women’s Club, a Lioness who supported causes including the Duluth Lighthouse for the Blind (Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss). She volunteered with Girl and Cub Scouts, her churches of St. Michaels and St. Johns, and supported the Knights of Columbus. She received numerous awards but felt most honored by being named Twin Ports Woman of the Year in 2007, nominated by St. Mary’s Medical Center auxiliary. Gert had an insatiable drive for knowledge and understanding and was actively involved in the education of and enrichment for her children. She loved exploring her own spirituality, backyard picnics, day trips, afternoon tea, concerts and theater, Halloween, books, opera, sharing coffee and conversation, and making monster cookies and pancakes. Most importantly, she had an ability to patiently listen and draw out the thoughts, feelings, and stories of others. Her final request to us was to continue to “tell the stories.”

The Tarnowski family wishes to thank the care and support teams at St. Therese – Oxbow Lake. A private family Mass will be said on Friday, January 8, 2021 at Thomson Dougherty, with internment at Fort Snelling. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Grief Support Center at Essentia Health - St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. Historic Thomson-Dougherty Minneapolis, Minnesota 612-871-4407

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