Gerber family member plans on returning to Switzerland

Nicholas Donaldson

Martha Gerber once again will be saying goodbye to this area as she returns to the country of her birth.
But this time, she’s planning a more permanent stay there.
Gerber is planning to fly to Switzerland in August following her marriage to a Swiss man, Daniel Fenner, planned for June 24.
She immigrated here from Switzerland with her family when she was five years old, and grew up working on the family farm along Highway 602.
“I have pleasant memories of accompanying my father delivering the fresh produce of bunched radishes, onions, beets, and carrots to the various grocery stores,” she recalled.
Some of the grocery stores she mentioned delivering to were Safeway, Shop Easy, Franko’s, Einar’s, Delzotto, Wright Way Market, and Filmores.
“Delivering local, fresh produce was a bit of pride and joy,” Gerber said, adding it might have been because of the hard work involved getting food from the garden to the table.
She worked on the family farm for about 30 years, then assisted her mother until she passed away at the age 89.
“At 50 years of age, I had my first experience in living away from home,” Gerber noted.
Between 2006 and 2008, Gerber spent time working at a private nursing home in Bern, Switzerland.
Then in the fall of 2008, she packed her suitcase again and flew to Santa Cruz, then on to Guayaramerin, Bolivia for about a year.
“My work there involved teaching children and adults English, and cooking and baking skills,” Gerber explained.
While working there, Gerber said she suffered a broken arm, an injured back, and Dengue fever.
“But I returned home with a thankful heart for the dear people and the valuable lessons I could learn while being there,” she remarked.
Returning home, she found herself looking for work and in 2010 began a job at Safeway here in Fort Frances.
“I have greatly enjoyed meeting my Fort Frances friends during my time there,” Gerber said.
“There seemed to be no end in meeting new people,” she added.
“I considered this the most fun part of my job there.”
Gerber marked her last day of work at Safeway back on April 28.
Gerber also has worked in home support for Riverside Health Care since she returned from Bolivia, and said it always was a pleasure to serve in the area.
“Now my life is embarking on a new journey,” she noted.
“A Swiss gentleman has taken an interest in me and on Jan. 12, 2017 asked me to marry him.”
The couple plans to live in Switzerland and will fly back there on Aug. 1–the same day the Gerber family of 12 left by train from Basel, Switzerland in 1961, Gerber noted.
They will live in an apartment Fenner owns in Rothenhausen, where he works as a technical editor for the Stadler company, a factory that designs and builds custom trains.
“I would like to say thank you to my dear townspeople for all the patience you had with me at the store or in your homes, and for the kindness you have offered me,” Gerber said.
“After living here 55 years plus, Fort Frances will not be forgotten,” she promised.