Gertrude 'Tutta''s Story
- Gertrude 'Tutta' Brandt Arnold, age 91, passed away on October 26, 2017 surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Benshausen, a small town located in the State of Thuringia of former East Germany. Known as the "Green Heart of Germany," it is a heavily forested mountainous region famous for its winter sports.
In her youth, Tutta was an excellent cross-country and downhill skier, described by her parents as a bit of a tomboy. She would often ski between towns to visit friends and relatives, sometimes returning days later. She won national medals in her age class for endurance and rescue swimming as well as diving.
The course of her life was forever changed by WWII and Germany's division into East and West. After the war (in her early twenties) she tempted fate numerous times over the course of two years crossing the lethal Soviet/American lines to bring food to her family in the East. She was chased and shot at in the dead of night and finally captured by the Soviets. Left alone in a room of an interrogation/detention facility, she managed to walk out and escape sure deportation to Siberia or a firing squad. Not daring to return home to say goodbye, she crossed into the American sector to establish a new life in the West, shortly thereafter moving to America.
Tutta led a busy life. She had three children and mastered the English language with her love of Scrabble, crossword puzzles, and cryptograms, (she rarely lost at Scrabble). She was a lifelong yoga practitioner, natural foods advocate, and a wicked chess player. She established and ran for many years the Bayside Inn from her home in Milbridge that was loved by all near and far. When her children were older, she went on to establish a business called The Alpine Shop, importing Tyrolean clothing from Europe, and later co-founded the Alpine Travel Agency with her daughter Jeannette. Tutta was a successful small business owner for much of her life.
She kept her German spirit alive through cooking and baking, becoming a Down East legend for her outstanding 'Stollen' desert bread at Christmas time. Tutta also put much effort into her residence in Milbridge, a beautiful old Victorian home the lawns of which became a thing of beauty with her consummate gardening skills. Selling the property in Milbridge and moving to Brewer was difficult as her heart remained Down East.
She is survived by her three children and their spouses: Jeannette Arnold of Brewer; Rick Arnold and wife, Shelley, of Brewer; and Julie Arnold Lisnet and husband, Ron, of Bangor. Her two grandchildren, Eric Arnold and Natalie Lisnet, miss her dearly. Relations in Germany include two nieces, one nephew, and their families, as well as relatives in New York and Texas.
She was predeceased by her mother, Emma; father, Fritz; sisters, Erna and Änna; ex-husband Maj. James Connor Arnold; and nieces Marianna, Hannalore and Anneliese of Germany.
If you wish to donate in her memory, please send to Avian Haven, 418 N Palermo Rd., Freedom, ME 04941.
Her family wishes to thank Eastern Maine Medical Center and all the wonderfully kind and dedicated nurses there, along with Hospice of Eastern Maine for their support.
Published on  November 18, 2017