I can still remember where I was when my mother told me that my friend Tracy Geldermann had been killed while riding her bike. It was 1968, I was eight years old. I remember going to her funeral in Danville and seeing her in the casket. She looked so beautiful and peaceful. I didn’t see her as dead at all. It was all too surreal for me to comprehend I guess. What’s odd is that for over forty years, the story I remembered about how she died was not apparently what happened. Somehow I heard that Tracy had been run off the road on her way home from school into a barb wire fence.
Thanks to an archive of the Oakland Tribune (Sunday, June 02, 1968, page 22), today I got to read for the first time about the accident.
Girl Cyclist, 7,
Is Holiday Victim
The daughter of a well known Danville realtor was fatally injured Saturday evening when she rode her bicycle in front of an auto.
Tracy Ann Gelderman, 7, daughter of Mr. and Ms. Harlan S. Gelderman, of 19251 San Ramon Valley Blvd., received head and other injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek.
Gelderman is developer of the Round Hills development near Alamo, a member of the State Real Estate Commission and a former president of the Contra Costa Real Estate Board.
The Highway Patrol said the child was riding her bicycle in the driveway of the family home when she suddenly rode into the road into the path of a southbound car driven by David F. Burton, 32, of 53 Meade Place, San Ramon.
The patrol said Burton swerved in an attempt to miss the girl, his car coming to rest against an embankment. Burton was not injured and no citation was issued.
[click to enlarge]
Tracy’s memorial can be found at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=101924447