In Memory of Gertie Lee Fontenot Jolivette Wilson
Gertie Lee Fontenot Jolivette Wilson (1928-2012) was born to Frank “Pop” Fontenot and Rosina “Na-Nan” Guillory in Chatagnier, Louisiana. She moved from Louisiana to California in 1960 and came alone on a train with her five young children seeking a better life. Despite having only a 10th grade education, she became a successful businesswoman who owned and operated Gertie’s Sunlight Room on Market Street in San Francisco for more than two decades. In addition to being a successful businesswoman and an avid Catholic parishioner at Our Lady of the Visitation Church in San Francisco for many years, Gertie also raised five beautiful children from her marriage to Howard Jolivette and acted as a surrogate mother to many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. During her many years as owner of Gertie’s Sunlight Room she helped anyone who needed it—-never turning anyone away who was hungry and could not pay for a meal because she too had known the anguish of living without. She was known to also allow some customers who struggled financially to pay at the end of the month and they always did because she was such a kind and generous spirit.
Gertie Jolivette died on May 11th, 2012 after a nearly 19 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She is loved dearly and her legacy and memory of unconditional love will continue to live on through her family and everyone whose life she touched.