Gertrude Ness’s first job teaching the primary grades at a rural school in Minnesota paid $60 a month. Her second — teaching second grade and heading up the music program at a “town school” — paid $100 a month.
It was a modest start to a long, fruitful career that would culminate in a 30-year stint with the Glendale Unified School District. But while Ness, now 104, formally retired from the district 37 years ago, she remains active in the local community, volunteering her time through several civic organizations, including the Retired Teachers Assn., the Sons of Norway, the Committee for a Clean & Beautiful Glendale and the Patrons Club.
Her activism will be recognized next month by the California Teachers Assn. Glendale-Foothill Division 11. Evelyn Florio, who organizes volunteer efforts for the group, described Ness’s commitment to the community as boundless. And her longevity is inspiring to those around her, she added.