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Gertrude “Gert” Laxer, one of the original Bern’s Steak House owners, dies

The matriarch of the Tampa institution was 93.
Gertrude "Gert" Laxer has died. She and her husband Bern opened Bern's Steak House.
Gertrude "Gert" Laxer has died. She and her husband Bern opened Bern's Steak House. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Apr. 28, 2020

Gertrude “Gert” Laxer, who together with her husband Bern opened Tampa institution Bern’s Steak House, has died.

Laxer died April 28 of natural causes, according to family members. She was 93.

Laxer, a New York native with a degree from New York University in advertising and marketing, met her future husband Bern in a copywriting class at the university. They married in 1950 and decided to move to California. On the way, the couple stopped in Tampa to visit relatives and ended up staying, opening a soft-serve ice cream parlor they called Bern & Gert’s Little Midway.

That restaurant eventually paved the way for Bern’s Steak House, and in 1956 the couple opened their lauded steak restaurant on Howard Avenue.

Related: Bern's Steak House is one of Tampa Bay's most iconic restaurants

“Gert” Laxer was an active member in the Tampa Bay community, her family said, and a previous board member of the Jewish Community Center. She is survived by her daughter Julia and her wife Betsy; her son David and his wife Christina; and granddaughters Ellie, Aimee and Bebe.

Due to current restrictions, funeral services will be private.