The woman after whom the memorial clocktower is namedwas Emma Gertrude Atmore (née Applegate), a much-loved doctor in Ōtaki.
After graduating from Otago Medical School in 1920, Gertrude became a house surgeon at Invercargill Hospital and medical superintendant at Coromandel before taking the same role at the Ōtaki sanitorium in 1921.
In 1922 she set up her own private medical practice in Ōtaki. She was well known for her compassion. During the Depression she helped with the birth of more than 100 children and was reputedly paid for only one of those births.
Gertrude married solicitor Charles Atmore, who was twice mayor of Ōtaki for a total of 19 years and held many prominent positions in the town.
When she died in 1959, her body lay at Raukawa Marae, an indication of the respect she held with the Māori community. Pākehā, Māori and Chinese all paid their respects. It was one of the largest attendances for a tangi at the marae.
In 1964, a clocktower was dedicated in her honour. Mayor Otho Yates said at the time: “May I appeal to you as you pass by and glance at this evidence of affection and love of the women of Ōtaki, to emulate in your own lives the indomitable spirit of service so nobly shown during her life by Dr Gertrude Atmore.”
The “supper room” at the Memorial Hall is also named the Gertrude Atmore Lounge.