Obituary: Gertrude ‘Gert’ Fondell

TULSA, OK (February 28, 2019) – Services are pending for Gertrude “Gert” (Franklin) Fondell, who served as a missionary to Alaska, where her ministry included a daily radio program on KICY radio. She died February 14 at the age of 92.

She was born October 22, 1926, in Willmar, Minnesota, to Nathaniel and Lillian Franklin.

Gert earned an associate degree at North Park College.

She married Ralph Fondell on September 3, 1948. They began serving as missionaries to Alaska in the summer of 1959. The couple helped establish KICY, serving there until 1984. Gert was the voice of the programs “Lines from a Mother’s Scrapbook” and “Gert’s Corner.”

Curtis Ivanoff, superintendent of the Alaska Conference, said, “Gert Fondell was such a blessing to many throughout Alaska for so many years, along with her husband, Ralph, with her longtime work with KICY Radio in Nome and also being a charter member of Community Covenant Church in Eagle River. As a kid, I remember her on the radio, and I am confident that many who heard her or were in ‘Gert’s Corner’ encountered the love of Jesus.”

“Although she was not the governor’s wife, she was the first lady of KICY,” said Greg Asimakoupoulos, the author of Ptarmigan Telegraph: The Story of Radio Station KICY. “Gert modeled grace and strength for those who worked at the radio station as well as for the women of the villages who listened to her daily program.”

Gert is survived her husband, Ralph; two daughters, Kathryn Congdon (James) and Rebecca Carlson (Wayne); two sons, Stephen (Lynne) and John (TrucLien); daughter-in-law Luanne; 16 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by an infant son and her eldest son, Daniel.

A memorial service will be held at Dawson (Minnesota) Covenant Church. Memorials may be directed to KICY Radio, P.O. Box 820, Nome AK 99762.

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8 Comments

  1. My heart and prayers go out to family and friends impacted by this loss. Does anyone know how she was related to Debbie Fondell who taught at Minnehaha Academy? I had Debbie as a teacher at Minnehaha and loss his still deeply felt.

  2. Sending heartfelt sympathy and love to Ralph and all the family. How we loved Gert. Ralph’s address in the missionary list is still in AK. and I don’t believe he is still there. Know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Gert was a pioneer in Nome and continued to serve as such at Anchorage 1st and the Eagle River church-plant. ‘Always willing to roll up her sleeves and serve. Such a dear, kind,loving person. She will be missed!

  3. I was saddened to hear the news passed on from our OR friend, Cheryl.
    I remember the program, Lines From A Mother’s Scrapbook’. That program
    blessed many/touched many whose ears were glued to the radio back then.
    Sharing some of the sadness her loss is….. wanting joyful reunions in the life
    after this ends…..looking forward….
    In Christ, Harriet Lee Pirisino

  4. Sorry to hear this! I remember your family so well. I lived at Covenant Mountain Mission where your parents came several summers to work, and I baby sat their children. Doubt any would remember me but it was such a wonderful time in our lives so much caring and tender moments for us. I left Jonesville when I graduated from High School after two years of college at Wise, Va., then moved to Chicago where my life changed in a flash. I want to thank you for the good memories of years ago and loved your whole family. Irene Collins Ecklund

    1. Thank you. I am the ‘middle’ Fondell child. I was born while my parents lived in West Virginia. I remember visiting Covenant Mountain Mission, probably the summer of 1965. I too now live in the Chicago area. Becky

  5. I’m sorry to hear this bad news and offer my condolences to the kids. I grew up in Nome listening to her stories. I remember the family well. Becky, it’s been many years and I hope you are well. Judy Ullrich

    1. Thank you Judy! I feel so blessed to have had the privilege to grow up in Nome! I well remember your Dad as one of my teachers and you– in probably all of my classes through the years! Becky

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