Trudy Elliott’s lifespan of 102 years was not only long in terms of years, but varied in terms of multiple cultural and historic changes that happened in her lifetime. She was born just after the 1919 influenza epidemic and grew up in the years between the two world wars. She saw her husband shipped to Hawaii after Pearl Harbor and during that year, she worked at a bomb factory in Riverbank, California. She entered the 21st century as a newly widowed woman, facing the adjustments that come with age and single life.
Gertrude Elizabeth Bundgard, known to us as Trudy, was born at home, on Bloss Avenue in Hilmar, California, on February 20, 1920. Her parents, Peter and Marie Bundgard, were immigrants from Denmark and she was the eighth of ten children. Five brothers and Trudy shared the experience of living under one roof, her older sisters having grown up and left home. She never had an opportunity to meet her grandparents who lived across the ocean. She did not learn the Danish language, but without doubt, was influenced by the Danish culture. Trudy’s school years were remembered as a highlight, and she felt pride in having never missed a day in 12 years of Hilmar schools. We see in photos of her 1938 yearbook that she was in school plays, played baseball, speed ball and basketball, participated in Student Body Council, was president of the Girls League Cabinet, and was a CSF member. Trudy lived in an era when any ambitions for higher education were left behind when she met her husband, Edward K. Elliott, on a blind date. They went to a youth banquet at the Covenant Church in Patterson. He asked for a second date the next night, but she already had plans with another fellow, so Ed showed up at the same event and sat behind them. His efforts were rewarded. They fell in love and eloped to Reno to get married in 1938. Ed and Trudy worked side by side for the 59 years they were married. They were involved with several endeavors which included owning Eddy’s Restaurant in the years before WWII, at the corner of Golden State Blvd and Geer Road. Later in life they owned and operated a poultry and almond ranch on Hawkeye Ave, Turlock. Trudy was a charter member of the Monte Vista Chapel, and a woman of lifelong faith. Though her memory often failed her in her final years, she was still able to quote the Bible verses that she had learned as a child. She died peacefully in her sleep on October 22, 2022 at Trinity Valley Care and with the attention of Community Hospice.
Trudy is survived by her three sons: Dr. L. Edward Elliott (Terry) of Riverbank, Stephen D. Elliott (Elaine) of Turlock and Robert M. Elliott (Linda) of Turlock. She also is survived by her eight grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren who carry with them, some of who and what she was.
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