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'Let's do something'

In Army, as a nurse, Juvenile Services worker, and as Mom, Trudy Brown kept busy helping, caring for others

In Army, as a nurse, Juvenile Services worker, and as Mom, Trudy Brown kept busy helping, caring for others

August 13, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." This continuing series will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Gertrude Shafer (Trudy) Brown, who died July 30 at the age of 88. Her obituary appeared in the Aug. 2 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.




Active almost to the end of her life, Gertrude S. (Trudy) Brown often would call her daughters on a Saturday from Homewood at Williamsport to see if they were up for a get-together.

"She'd say that it was too quiet there - let's do something," Debby Weaver said.

Even when Trudy was starting to slow down, Debby and her twin sister, Kathleen Lucas, continued the tradition of Friday night dinners with their mother in the Homewood dining room.

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The last time was in early July, for Kathleen and Debby's birthday.

On July 30, Trudy died at the age of 88 at her beloved Homewood, where she spent the last 22 years of her life.

Before that, the family's home was at 1016 Beechwood Drive in Hagerstown's North End - the home both Kath-leen and Debby remember from their earliest years.

"We had the all-American childhood - a street full of friends in our neighborhood," Debby said. They also were members of Northwood, so they could go swimming in the summers.

Kathleen said no one had a lot of "things" in those days, but she remembers how happy they were as a family.

"Church was always a big part of our lives," she said, noting that her mother still was volunteering at Christ's Reformed Church in Hagerstown when she was living at Homewood.

Before marriage and children, Trudy set her sights on a career as a nurse, training in Pennsylvania. She worked at hospitals in Philadelphia and Hagerstown before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1944.

"She went around the world ... Australia, Morocco, India and China, which was her main posting," Kathleen said.

Debby said her mother made the dangerous flight "over the hump" of the Himalayas between India and China dur-ing her time in the service.

"We found a big certificate in mom's things which marked the occasion of her crossing the equator," Debby said.

After she came home from the war, Trudy again worked as a nurse, training other nurses at Washington County Hospital. But it was during a brief stint working as an interior designer that she met her future husband, Alvie Brown, who was in carpentry work.

"Daddy was doing some work for the designer she worked for and they met," Kathleen said.

The couple married in 1948. Two years later, Kathleen and Debby were born.

"We were in day care at the hospital for nurses' children," Kathleen said.

When the girls were teenagers, Trudy went to work for the Washington County Department of Juvenile Services.

"Trudy was there in 1969 when I started," said Bob Weaver, now the assistant area director of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. "She was very supportive of me."

Bob said Trudy worked in intake, meeting people who came in the door, and trying to set them up with the services they needed.

"She was a very warm person - very centered on family," Bob said, noting that made her perfect for that difficult job.

Part of her duties included attending Washington Coun-ty Juvenile Court every Wednesday.

Bob said Trudy told him she was recruited for the job in his office by then-Washington County Circuit Judge Irvine Rutledge. Bob also recalled that Trudy and her husband had lunch together every day that she worked in his office.

"They were devoted to each other," he said.

Although she retired in 1982, Trudy came back to the Department of Juvenile Services office for a few years, working with victims.

While at Homewood, Trudy always was getting a group together to keep active in some fashion - either in water aerobics or chair exercise, Debby said.

"She liked it there - it was home," she said.

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