Gertrude Crites
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Crites, Gertrude
On April 20th, 2020, Trudy's loved ones lost our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Mother Earth lost an advocate, an artist, a caregiver, and a friend. Trudy was born in German Silesia on April 17th, 1925. Her long and remarkably resilient journey ended in Portland, Oregon. Trudy's optimism and openness to evolving circumstances always paved the way for her journey.
At age 12, Trudy and her family of eight fled Germany, immigrating and assimilating to neutral Turkey. Afforded little opportunity for herself in 1947, Trudy immigrated to America for educational opportunities, Europe and her family being in war-torn disarray.
Trudy worked her way through Kentucky's Berea college, then earned scholarship to a Yale MSN, then Yale Divinity School.
In 1955, she married Stephen D. Crites in Elida, Ohio.
Trudy's remarkable ability to reinvent herself served her well as she and Stephen eventually settled into life in Middletown, CT. She assumed the mantle of her role as a pastor/professor's spouse. They raised four daughters, Thea, Stephanie, Lilian, and Hannah. The family traveled the world together, having many colorful adventures and misadventures. Trudy pursued her nursing career, but her guiding lights were her beloved family, her Christian faith, and her keen eye for art, creating beauty every day for the rest of her life.
In 1986, newly single and empty-nested, Trudy joined the Peace Corps, teaching nursing skills in Gambia, west Africa.
Her stateside return was no less grueling than the previous transitions had been. Trudy arose like the Phoenix nonetheless, resettling in Brattleboro, VT. She drew her family about her, she engaged her artistic energies as never before, she became quite an active parishioner, and she volunteered for everything that she could schedule.
Trudy especially reveled in her role as Oma to her now-adult grandchildren, Michael and Timothy Seckla, Adeline and Laura Mitchell, Iris and Rose Flesher, and to Peter Johnson. With great joy she welcomed the next generation, Finnegan, Madison, and Christopher Seckla.
In 2016, Trudy moved to Portland, into the care of Hannah.
Trudy's ability to keep moving forward was always sustained by her Christianity, and in her determination to enjoy the beauty of God's creation in any circumstance. Trudy's essence will live on in the twinkle of her love in her family's eyes, in the brightness of each spring's blossoming, in the sweetness of sun-ripened tomatoes, and in the hues of each season's subtle rotation, absent her paintbrushes capturing them for us all.

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Published in Middletown Press on Apr. 27, 2020.
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9 entries
May 2, 2020
I have so many wonderful memories of Trudy and the whole family during our years as close neighbors and friends in Middletown. Croquet games and pizzas and Hannah and Persephone growing up together. Sending love to you all.
Elizabeth Miel
April 30, 2020
To Trudys Family I remember herband her family as members of SouthbCongregational Church. God give you comfort at this time. Beverly Towns
Beverly Towns
April 29, 2020
Trudy was a real mensch ... so humble, so service-oriented. She was one of the very first volunteers in our Windham County, Vermont Restorative Justice program, and thus a deserving co-recipient of the 1997 Innovations in American Justice award from the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. And all that just for being a selfless and caring member of our community! Thank you, Trudy!
John Wilmerding
April 29, 2020
Mike and Tim we are so sorry for your loss. And sorry we never met your amazing Oma
Joe Regan
April 29, 2020
Although I never met Gertrude (We did both live in Brattleboro, Vermont so we could have crossed paths), after reading the beautiful tribute to her life, I wish I had known her. Her life is a template for now a life should be lived. Well done, Gertrude! And my deepest sympathies to all her family and friends.
Lorraine Ryan
April 28, 2020
I'm so glad I got to meet Trudy, she was always so very nice to me. I LOVED her paintings. I know she will be very missed by all who knew her, but especially by her family. Sincere condolences to all her loved ones.
Cathy McDonagh
April 28, 2020
Dear Crites Family,, WOW I so remember the matriarch of your family. Your Mother was such a strong person in body and soul. Blessings to all and may memories heal your hearts . Peace
Amelia Baldwin
April 27, 2020
To the Crites four daughters from the Baldwin four daughters God bless all
E. Ann Baldwin
April 27, 2020
Thinking of you, Stephanie, at this sad time. Deepest sympathy to you and the entire Crites family. My thoughts turn to a time several years ago when I enjoyed a conversation with you at the hospital while visiting my sister. Our conversation became a little too prolonged for your nursing supervisor, but she didn't understand that we hadn't seen one another in a rather long time. Hope you are well. May your good memories bring you some consolation and peace.

Evelyn V. Maher
Retired from Mercy High School
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