Gertrude Pietrinferno

Obituary of Gertrude Pietrinferno

Gertrude 'Trudy' Pietrinferno, died at the age of 89, on February 23rd at the new Merwick Care Center in Plainsboro. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Plainsboro West Windsor where her parents Irvin and Gertrude Heft, started Walker Gordon's first boarding house called "The Crow's Nest - Down in the Hollow". She never finished eighth grade at Penns Neck School when she came to Princeton as a Nanny. She rode the Dinky each day for 5 cents. A few years later she met Frank Pietrinferno, married and had two sons, Frank and Jim. From 1948-1953 she was a care taker for Helen Lowe Porter, Thomas Mann's translator, in her home on Mt. Lucas Road. Every other Thursday for five years they were visited by Albert Einstein for high tea at 4p.m., an institute tradition. His friend Lily Kahler said Trudy was a saint. In 1954 she started the first of three popular restaurants called, The Nassau Coffee Shop, where PJ's is now. It was followed by the Princetown Coffee Shop at 82 Nassau and finally the College Inn Diner across from Cox's store. She cooked daily for everyone for thirty years including Bill Bradley, George Sands and the Governors of New Jersey. It was like a club car. She was often sighted for her great burgers and Italian dishes, but she was the main attraction. They ran the restaurants to make a living, not a fortune. Patrons as friends were more important. When she retired, she pitched in fulltime to help raise her grandchildren on Carnegie Lake. Predeceased by her husband Frank, and her son Frank Jr., she is survived by her son James Firestone, and six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Funeral services are private under the direction of Mather-Hodge Funeral Home. A family gathering at the Mt. Lucas picnic house this summer will celebrate her life.
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