Audrey L. Gruger
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Audrey L. GRUGER Former King County Councilwoman Audrey Gruger died unexpectedly on March 24, 2010 as the result of a stroke. Audrey had a long and distinguished career as a community activist and elected official. She served on the King County Council from 1982-1993 and represented the 1st Legislative District in the Washington State House of Representatives from 1976 to 1981. Audrey was inspired by her mother, who was the second woman elected to the North Dakota Legislature. Audrey's passion for women's and family issues led to passage of legislation requiring mandatory immunizations, the creation of sexual assault programs, and stronger laws to prevent domestic abuse and child neglect. She also led the fight to establish an adoption program for special needs children. In recognition, she received the Medina Children's Service Leadership Award. As a 12-year member of the King County Council, Audrey served as chair in 1986, 1992 and 1993. She also chaired the Committee on Elderly and Handicapped and served on the committees on transit, water quality, finance and personnel. She was appointed a member of the Art Commission and the Community Development and Block Grant Board. Audrey also served on the board of the Economic Development Council and the Trade Development Alliance; as a member of the Housing Task Force; and vice chair of the Community and Economic Development Steering Committee of the National Association of Counties. At the time of her retirement, Audrey was appointed by Governor Mike Lowry to the Affordable Housing Board to the Legislature, and by the County Council to the Housing Authority Commission of King County. She also served on the boards of directors of AIDS Housing of Washington and Plymouth Housing Group. Audrey's community activities included serving as the Legislative Liaison for United Way of King County from 1973 to 1975, and the Advisory Committee to the Department of Social and Health Services from 1972 to 1992. She was a long-time member of the American Association of University Women, Women's Political Caucus, and the League of Women Voters. She was active in Girl Scouts, Plymouth Church and school activities, and was a member of the board of the Shoreline YMCA from 1976 to 1986. While an elected official, she was a founder and membership chair of Elected Washington Women and Legislative Chair to the Human Services Round Table of King County. Audrey was born May 17, 1930 in Minot, North Dakota. She came to Seattle in 1946, and graduated from Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington, where she was active in student government. She served as President of Phrateres, and a member of Totem Club and Mortar Board. After college, she worked as a caseworker in public assistance for the state Department of Social and Health Services. Audrey was married for 55 years to her husband Edward Hart Gruger, Ph.D., who passed away in January 2008. Throughout their retirement years, Audrey and Ed enjoyed spending time with their family and friends. They traveled throughout the world, explored family genealogy, played bridge, attended Seattle cultural events, and enjoyed time at their beach cabin. Audrey is survived by her daughters, Sherri Youmans (Dan) and Linda "Lindy" Gruger Hanson; son Lawrence "Larry" Gruger (Marcia); grandsons Aaron and Nathan Youmans; sister Doris Mae Bailey; brother Mylo Lindgren; and numerous nieces and nephews. The many friends, family and colleagues who knew Audrey will miss her dearly, especially her compassion for others and commitment to make the world a better place for the vulnerable and less fortunate. Audrey always had a positive outlook on life and was known for her vibrant personality. She inspired many people to follow their dreams, especially women in politics. Remembrances can be made to Plymouth Housing Group, 2113 3rd Ave., Seattle, WA 98121, or a charity of your choice. A celebration of her life will be held for family and friends.

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Published in The Seattle Times from Mar. 31 to Apr. 4, 2010.