May 22, By Christian Murray
Gertrude “Gert” McDonald, a long-time resident who helped pave the way for women in Queens politics, died Sunday at the age of 100.
McDonald, who was born in Manhattan and moved to Sunnyside when she was seven, was an active member of the civic life of Sunnyside and Woodside until her death.
She served on Community Board 2 for more than 40 years and held positions at the 108th Precinct Community Council and the United Forties Civic Association. She was also an active member at Sunnyside Community Services and in local politics until her passing.
In 1968, she was the first woman to run for elected office as a Democrat in Queens and though her campaign for a seat in the New York State Assembly was unsuccessful, she helped lay the foundation for other women to run for political office and later win.
At her 100 birthday party in August, former CB2 chair Joseph Conley described here in one word as ‘amazing.’
“We need Gert around for another hundred years,” Conley said at the time. “Her achievements are incredible, and still she is so involved today, her wit, humor, focus, she’s like a laser beam on issues, and doesn’t give up until her goal is accomplished.”
Conley described a time when the MTA moved the bus stop down two blocks on Queens Boulevard from 39th Street to 37th Street, making it more difficult for seniors to get to Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th Street.
McDonald made it her mission to get the stop moved back, and began collecting petitions. “She would have no
qualms going up to any elected official and saying ‘what are you doing about moving the bus stop back,” he recalled. She did not give up until the bus stop was put back in front of the senior center.
“That’s just one example,” Conley said, “She was involved all over the city, and her accomplishments are so many.”
“Sometimes we use the word legend very loosely and quickly and too often,” said McDonald’s friend of 40 years Don McCallian at the time of her birthday.
“But Gert deserves the title of legend, certainly, and we in New York City, and Queens more specifically, have been rewarded by the continuous and unrelenting efforts of this woman.”
McDonald was predeceased by her husband Scotty, according to her obituary. She was the mother of Eileen Auld and her husband Tom and the late Robert. She is survived by seven grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
Lynches Funeral Home on Queens Blvd and 43rd St.
Wednesday May 24rd and Thursday May 25th.
2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm both days.
Funeral services to be held Friday at St. Teresa’s Church in Woodside.