January 15, 1925 ~ June 29, 2021
Born in: Sparta, GA
Resided in: Indianapolis, IN
MAGGIE GERTRINA BYRDSONG ELLERSON
Maggie Gertrina Byrdsong, the 13th of 16 children of Ashley and Elsie Byrdsong was born January 15, 1925 in Sparta, Georgia. Early on the Maggie in her name was nixed in favor of the more unique and exotic Gertrina.
While still a pre-schooler, Gertrina relocated to Indianapolis, IN along with her large and ever-growing family. She attended school #24 and later, Crispus Attucks High School where she graduated in 1943.
Gertrina professed a belief in Christ and was baptized at an early age at Antioch Baptist Church. The family moved on to Second Baptist Church and as and adult, Gertrina joined Mt. Paran Missionary Baptist Church where she was a member for over 60 years.
Gertrina enjoyed music and dancing as youngster with her favorite dancing partner being her brother Billy. Gertrina enjoyed being a part of a large family and the traditional family Sunday dinners and family reunions that were so much a part of her growing up.
Gertrina was united in marriage to Robert E. Lyles in 1949. To this union, their only child Barbara was born.
Gertrina was a smart, enterprising young woman who was known for her proficiency with the technology of the day-the typewriter. This skill enabled her to find work with several attorneys in the Marion County Court system.
In 1952, Gertrina went to work for Fort Benjamin Harrison Army Finance Center where she spent 30 years. The majority in of that time was spent processing claims for servicemen. During her tenure there, she received many awards for her outstanding work and one award for Sustained Superior Performance.
Gertrina married Joseph Ellerson in 1958. Mr. Ellerson preceded her in death.
Even after her retirement, Gertrina remained active working part-time for many companies, including the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and H&R Block. She was also involved in the Senior Companion and Friend Circle Programs. She loved working with numbers and could spend hours playing Sudoku.
Gertrina loved to travel and planned many trips for her family, most notably cruises which took them to ports of call like Caracas Venezuela and Alaska. Her favorite times were spent with her daughter and other family members.
Many of Gertrina’s nieces and, of course, her daughter looked upon her as a role model because of her long lasting beauty, youthful appearance and manner.
In her later years, Gertrina faced the many challenges of growing older including the loss of all her sisters and brothers. She was the last survivor of sixteen children. The Byrdsongs were a very well-known family in Indianapolis. Now, she has been called home to reunite with all of them.
Gertrina leaves to honor the memory of having known her and sharing her life, her daughter Barbara and four generations of nieces and nephews. As we celebrate the extraordinary life of Gertrina’s 96 years on earth, we poignantly remember that we lost her last sister just one month ago at age 112. The family gives thanks to God for their longevity. May Gertrina rest in eternal peace.