Gertrude Warnick was born in 1896, grew up at St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum in Columbus, Ohio, and moved to Florida with her sister, Susanna, in 1941. Eventually, she found work at the Littlefield Nursing Home, where she also lived as part of the job.
There, on March 30, 1953, she died in a fire along with 32 others.
“A fierce, early morning fire, fanned by a strong breeze, today destroyed the Littlefield Nursing Home south of Largo, killing probably 32 persons. It was the worst tragedy in Pinellas County History,” photojournalist Bob Preston reported in a front-page story for the St. Petersburg Times.
Gertrude was buried in an unmarked grave until a story in the Tampa Bay Times alerted people to her life and death in 2022.