Gertrude Williamson, 95, of Baraboo

May 13, 2019

Gertrude L. “Trudy” (née Leonard) Wright Williamson, 95, of Baraboo, passed away Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at Oak Park Place in Baraboo. She had suffered from dementia.

Born on Sept. 26, 1923, in Seattle, Washington, and raised on the shores of the Puget Sound that she loved, Trudy graduated in May 1945 from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. An internship on Capitol Hill brought her to Washington, D.C. where she met and soon married Dr. Rufus W. Wright, a physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory, who earned his PhD in physics in 1940 at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Trudy believed firmly in the good possible when people work together to build better and more equitable communities. During her more than 45 years as a resident of the Tauxemont and Wellington neighborhoods in Fairfax County, Virginia, Trudy was a founding member of both the Mount Vernon Community Park and Playground Association in 1954 and the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in 1955; served multiple roles at Hollin Hall Elementary School; and during the early civil rights era opened her home to Congress of Racial Equality volunteers coming for non-violent lunch counter protests against segregation.

Then after three years teaching at the Tauxemont Cooperative Pre-School, Trudy returned to Capitol Hill where she worked for Congressman Lloyd Meeds of Washington, Sen. Joe Clark of Pennsylvania, Congressman Ike Andrews of North Carolina, and as director of Legislative Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter. Her priority legislative areas were civil rights, women’s rights, education, and aging.

After retirement, Trudy did canvassing and poll work for the Democratic Party, hosted the annual Mount Vernon District Democratic Party ice cream social in her backyard, and served on the Fairfax Area Commission on Aging. She and Rufus spent part of each year on Mirror Lake in Sauk County, where they enjoyed the Fortnightly Literary Club, the Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy, and the Free Congregation of Sauk County - a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. After 2002, Trudy lived permanently in Wisconsin. To the end of her days, a kind, generous, and positive spirit that she believed was within each of us illuminated Trudy and gave her a special elegance and grace.

Survivors include her three children, Edward L. (Patricia) Wright of Los Angeles, California, William R. (Nancy) Wright of New York City, and Eleanor (Stephen) Chiquoine of Reedsburg; grandchildren, William J. Wright, Diana L. Wright, Alexander D. Chiquoine, Nicholas W. Chiquoine, and Elizabeth H. Chiquoine; and great-grandchild Vivian J. Wright.

Trudy was predeceased by her father Horace Earl Leonard; mother Eleanor R. (Hoppock) Leonard; brothers, Arthur H. Leonard and H. Kinney Leonard; son Donald K. Wright; and husbands, Rufus W. Wright in 2003, and William L. Williamson of Madison in 2011.

A celebration of life service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 9, 2019, at the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, 1909 Windmill Lane, Alexandria, Virginia, in the Hollin Hall manor house building. A social hour and refreshments will follow. Memorials can be made to Free Congregation of Sauk County P.O. Box 664 Sauk City, WI 53583; or Agrace Hospice Foundation, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711.