Gertrude A. 'Trudy' Mugele, homemaker

She instilled in her children the enduring value of a good education

  • Trudy Ann Mugele
Trudy Ann Mugele (Baltimore Sun )
November 05, 2013|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Gertrude A. "Trudy" Mugele, a homemaker and former administrative assistant who instilled in her children the enduring value of a good education, died Oct. 24 of heart failure at her Lutherville home. She was 90.

The daughter of Francis and Bronislava Bernatowicz, farmers from Poland, Gertrude Ann Bennett was born and raised on a farm near Pittsburgh.

"Their name was changed at Ellis Island to Bennett," said her son, James L. Mugele of Cockeysville.

Mrs. Mugele, who was one of 11 children, was raised in a multilingual family that spoke Polish, Russian and English. She graduated in 1941 from Baldwin Township High School in Pittsburgh.

"She often spoke of how her family was not rich, but remembers during the Great Depression, they never turned away strangers who knocked at their door for food," her son said.

"Her mother wanted her to quit school and only work on the farm, as school was not considered important for girls in the 1930s, so her mother refused to support her," her son said. "She went to school and worked on the farm before and after school. One of Trudy's older sisters helped her with money for school and her Catholic school uniform."

After graduating from high school, she moved to Newark, N.J., to live with one of her sisters. She commuted to New York City, where during World War II, she worked at an RCA factory that made parts for walkie-talkies used by Army troops.

When the war ended, she returned to Pittsburgh and married James H. Mugele, a World War II veteran, in 1948.

The couple moved to Lutherville in 1951, when her husband went to work as an accountant for Mine Safety Appliances, a subsidiary of Catalyst Research Corp. He died in 2003.

While living in her Spring Avenue home in Lutherville, Mrs. Mugele raised three children, whom she encouraged to attend college.

She held several administrative assistant positions at Fawn Plastics and the old Towson Ford automobile dealership during the 1960s and 1970s to help support their education.

Mrs. Mugele was proud that her three children all earned college degrees, with two of them receiving graduate degrees, her son said.

"She is the kindest and strongest woman I have ever known," said Nancy Mugele, her daughter-in-law, who is director of marketing and communications at Roland Park Country School.

Mrs. Mugele enjoyed painting landscapes and still lifes in oils. She also was an avid sports fan, especially of baseball and swimming, and was a "big fan of Michael Phelps," her son said.

She enjoyed following the Orioles, family members said.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 30 in the chapel at St. Paul's School, 11152 Falls Road, Lutherville.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Mugele is survived by two daughters, Christine Lynn Alrich of Timonium and Ann Carol Roberts of Lutherville; five grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

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