Gertrude Rita Sullivan

Born: Thu., Jan. 17, 1918
Died: Mon., May 30, 2011

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Gertrude Rita Sutton Sullivan, "Trudie," died in Pendleton, Oregon, on May 30, 2011. Mrs. Sullivan was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, January 17, 1918, to Edward and Frances Miller Sutton. In many ways, Mrs. Sullivan's life can be celebrated as all that was great about the American experience in the Twentieth and early Twenty-first Centuries. Born during World War I, Trudie led an idyllic childhood in Rhode Island during the 1920s with her parents and six siblings, although one brother died at age three in 1924. Her family lost everything in the depression. When her father's business failed, he shared proceeds from two insurance policies to help employees who had also lost everything. The Sutton family moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1929 so Trudie's father could pursue a new employment opportunity. But the family would never regain their comfortable upper middle class income. To help make ends meet, Trudie would babysit and use the money to buy material to sew her own clothes. Immediately after her eighteenth birthday, Trudie enrolled in the nurse's training program at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Upon earning her RN, Trudie went to work as an operating room nurse at Hoff Hospital in Northampton, Pennsylvania. When war broke out in December, 1941, Trudie's former supervisor at Pennsylvania Hospital called and asked if she would join an Army reserve unit of "Pennsy" nurses. Trudie immediately agreed. On her twenty-fourth birthday Trudie's father drove her to Philadelphia to catch a train that she thought would take her to an Army fort for training. The Army had other plans for the group of volunteers, although because of strict secrecy rules, the nurses had no idea where they were really going. Three days later Trudie and her colleagues disembarked from Brooklyn in the first American military convoy to sail to the South Pacific. Destination, the island of New Caledonia to set up an evacuation hospital in anticipation of the Battle of Guadalcanal. In the same convoy, but on a different boat, Lory J. Sullivan and his artillery unit were on their way to set up fortifications to defend that hospital. Trudie and Lory met on the island. Lory would drive seventy-eight miles both ways from his post to the hospital unit to see Trudie. They were married in Noumea, New Caledonia, April 27, 1943. Because of military rules, Trudie returned to the United States. Lory followed her back some months later, but in 1944 was sent to the European theater of war. Trudie lived with her parents until Lory could join her after the war. Their first child, Lorraine, was born in Pennsylvania in April of 1945. They moved to downstate Illinois, had three more daughters, and then moved to Chicago in 1949, where two sons and two daughters were born. Trudie gave birth to eight children in all between the years 1945 and 1956. Trained as an engineer, Lory worked his way up in a Chicago contracting firm until he started his own business in 1958. Trudie and Lory raised their eight children in Chicago, Riverdale and then Oak Park, Illinois beginning in 1959 as Lory's business grew with Trudie's help in the office. Trudie was active in their church, St. Giles in Oak Park, and served as President of the Women's Guild. Trudie and Lory retired to Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, in 1978. They lived in Wisconsin until 1994 when they moved to Pendleton, Oregon, to be near three of their daughters. Lory died in Pendleton in April, 1996. Trudie continued living in Pendleton, enjoying the company of her daughters Lorraine, Patricia and Marguerite, as well as several grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loved attending the Oregon East Symphony and volunteering at the Arts Center. In her final years when diabetes, a disease she had battled for over half her life, made outings into town more and more difficult, Trudie fully appreciated the simple pleasure of sitting outside and chatting and remembering with members of her family. She died peacefully in her room at Suttle Care. Trudie is survived by her children Lorraine Baxter Albert, Patricia Stephen Thomas, Catherine Hofmann Charles, Elizabeth O'Donnell Kevin, Floyd Lucy, Stephen Cynthia, Marguerite Gutierrez Gil and Jeanne Goss Lee; her sister Lucille Stearn of West Covina, California; twenty-five grandchildren and twenty-five great-grandchildren. Friends are invited to the Rosary Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m. at Burns Mortuary of Pendleton. Send condolences at Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is handling arrangements. A funeral mass will be said Saturday, June 4 at 2 pm, followed by internment at Skyview Memorial Park. Memorial gifts may be sent to St. Anthony Hospice or a charity of your choice.

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debbie hearn
   Posted Thu June 02, 2011
to all the girls: your mom was one of the best people that i have had the privilidge to work with and come to know, she reminded me of my gma and she told me to call her that, we would sit for hours when time allowed, and talk about her time working in the nurse corp in the pacific and about all the growing up of the kids she had had, I was privilidged to meet all the girls when she first moved to suttle care and I truly will miss her but i WILL THINK OFTEN ABOUT HER AND THEN smile about all her fantastic smiles she gave daily and her uncanny laugh at life and what it had brought her I will miss her very much,,,"good night gma debbie hearn

Marcia & Henry Lorenzen
   Posted Fri June 03, 2011
Lori, Pat, and Margie, Henry and I want you to know that you all are in our hearts at this time. Your mother was a gracious woman, who raised gracious daughters. We are thankful she passed peacefully. Although she had a full, long life, nothing dampens the sorrow you feel at this time. Our love, Marcia

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