Gertrude M. Olson
Professor Trudie Graeflin Olson Engel passed away at CHI Health Lakeside Hospital, Omaha, on July 1, 2022 at 90 years of age. She is survived by husband, Richard “Rick” Engel; sister, Suzanne Dayberry; sons, Christopher Olson and Eric Olson; grandchildren, Jackie, Conlan and Pel; and many, many friends, guests and students. She is remembered for her generous hospitality, quick wit, adventurous spirit and ability to order fondue in English, French, German and Swiss German.
Trudie was a woman on the move. She spent her childhood with mother Rose Wilhelm, father Godfrey Graeflin and sisters Esther and Suzanne moving from Boston to a cavalry base in Nebraska, to New York, to a warship in the Mediterranean, to Paris, to Zurich. She served as a TWA hostess, “back when it was really special and you had to wear gloves and a hat. They said, ‘Put down where you’d like to be based.’ I wrote for my three options: ‘New York, New York, New York!’ I got Kansas City. Even though I knew all those languages! Geez.” She remained passionate about travel for the rest of her life, making frequent trips to Europe with family and friends.
A true intellectual, Trudie attended the University of Zurich, followed by Baldwin Wallace University, and graduated, “In just three years! For me, it was a snap.” She found her true calling (and a use for all those languages) in teaching. As a high-school language teacher, private tutor, and languages professor at Bellevue University, she inspired and befriended students for over four decades. After meeting Rick through teaching, they made a life together in Omaha, and opened the Alpine Creek Bed & Breakfast in Vail, Colorado where she returned each winter to dazzle guests with her gracious hospitality, humor and bread pudding.
A voracious reader, foodie and dog mom. A stubborn force to be reckoned with. An unrelenting advocate for being who you are and doing what you believe in. Loud, funny, intelligent, elegant. There is so much more that can be said, but in the end, what she did was make our world so much brighter. We will love and miss you always, Bümper.
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