BLUE HILL—Gertrude Olsen Porter (Trudy) died peacefully on the morning of March 13, 2015, in her Parker Ridge apartment in Blue Hill. She was known and respected by family and friends as a clear-thinking individual who always had time to listen fully to others and to offer wise counsel when needed. Trudy was a steady, quick-witted and conscientious person who was loved by many. Firm and resilient with a grounded sense of humor, she navigated life’s ups and downs with practicality and without complaint. She had an unusual ability to enjoy and accept people as they are. Trudy was a natural teacher, leading by example when it came to the important details of life and family. She kept a warm and welcoming kitchen smelling of fresh soup, a loaf of bread or a sheet of cookies. Her life spanned a century and more — a time of extraordinary change. With clear thought and deliberate actions she was always able to move ahead in a positive way in the face of an ever-evolving world.
Gertrude la Cour Olsen was born on Dec. 12, 1910, to Axel and Ellen Olsen in Perth Amboy, N.J. There, she grew up speaking Danish as well as English with her parents and her two older brothers, Olaf and Norman. As a teenager, she attended Hartridge Academy before going on to Smith College where, while majoring in geology, she met John Porter on a field trip. He too was studying rocks, but found a future partner as well. After she graduated from Smith in 1933, Trudy and John were married. They spent their honeymoon camping and hiking in the Canadian Rockies.
In 1936 they moved to Bronxville, N.Y., where John began his teaching career at the Bronxville High School, and Trudy was active in numerous volunteer capacities including Planned Parenthood and the League of Women Voters.
Trudy remained a most able and dedicated wife during 59 years of marriage until John’s death in 1993. Together they raised three children, Edward (Ebbie), Anina and David.
Summers were always spent in Maine where, in 1938, Trudy and John had a cottage built on Great Spruce Head Island in Penobscot Bay. Her days there were filled with vegetable gardening, tennis, boating, and children. Following the war, they had a powerboat built called Kittiwake, and then another in 1963 called Kittiwake II. For three decades, Trudy was a constant shipmate with John around the Maine coast and on longer trips. After John’s retirement, annual migrations down the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida eventually led to an extended cruise circumnavigating the Eastern U.S. via the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
Often during summers, you could find Trudy carefully tending the extensive island vegetable garden and performing wonderful deeds in her island kitchen with the “New Leader” woodstove and the ever-changing view down the bay. Her extraordinary hermit cookies were widely sought after by family and visitors.
After John’s death in 1993, Trudy moved to Parker Ridge in Blue Hill, where she started the next phase of her long life. She was active in the Parker Ridge community and the Blue Hill community at large. She volunteered with Meals on Wheels and other community organizations well into her nineties.
Trudy was predeceased by her husband, John Porter. She is survived by her son, Edward and his wife, Elaine Snow Porter, of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; her daughter, Anina Porter Fuller of Sonoma, Calif.; and her son, David and his wife, Jean Marie Porter, of Brooklin. She is also survived by seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
There will be an informal remembrance gathering for friends and family at Parker Ridge on March 28 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to one of Trudy’s favorite charities: Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Peninsula Ambulance Corps or Doctors without Borders.