Born: April 19, 1919
Died: February 23, 2013
Gwendolyn Barbara (Toombs) Altenburg-Gillott, age 93, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family. Born on April 19, 1919 she lived a full and happy life on the family ranch in Gilroy. She was the third generation to live on the Cunha property settled by her grandparents in the late 1800's. She was best known as a music teacher in the Gilroy schools for over 30 years. She also worked at St. Mary's Church as minister of music and liturgy following her retirement from the school district. She was a graduate of the St. Mary's Convent School, a 1935 graduate of Gilroy High School and also a graduate of San Jose State University with degrees in Music and Education. Music was an integral part of her life, and she continued to be involved in local choirs until just a few years before her death. She was a long-time member of the Gavilan adult choir, as well as director of the Side-by-Siders, a local singing group, for over 20 years. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, the Gilroy Grange, the Native Daughters of the Golden West, PEO and the SPRSI.
She is survived and will be deeply missed by her son William Altenburg, daughter Jeanne Garcia and husband Pete, her grandchildren Sally Mortensen and husband Tim, all of Gilroy, Nathan Garcia and wife Katie in Honolulu, HI, Peter Garcia and Allison Homewood in Berkeley, CA, and Andrew Garcia and Dionna Mash in Pleasanton, CA. Her great-grandchildren are Poppy and Olive Garcia in Honolulu, HI, and Lily and Naya Mortensen in Gilroy.
She was preceded in death by husbands John William Altenburg and Vernon Gillott, as well as her son James Altenburg and her first cousin Cecelia Berry, who passed away one week before her.
A Memorial Mass is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Friday, March 8th, 2013 at St. Mary's Church in Gilroy, followed by a gathering out at the ranch, per her wishes. Donations may be made to the charity of your choice, or to St. Joseph's Family Center in Gilroy. The family would like to thank Patricia Perez for her special care.