Gertrude Staude Williams

Gertrude "Trude" Staude Williams was born December 20, 1905 in Troy, Rensselaer County, New York to Arthur Llewellyn Williams and Elizabeth Lillian Williams. She was the oldest of four children, having one sister and two brothers. As she was never very fond of her first name, she shortened it to Trude (Tru-de).

Trude married Robert Alexander Mackenzie, Sr. in Chicago, Illinois about 1927. They had two sons. Trude and Bob moved to a place called Whispering Pines that was just northeast of Payson in Gila County, Arizona. They spent their retirement there. They built a two-story A-frame with a deck overlooking the side of their mountain. It had a beautiful view of grape vines, flowers, and lots of large trees. The area was almost completely surrounded by forest land.

Ranchers could pay a very cheap fee to have their cattle graze on the Forest Service land. That meant it was open range. The cattle were supposed to stay in the forest, but they didn't. They had apparently built their house by a cattle trail. The house didn't bother the cattle. There was a narrow track right by the side of the house. In the middle of the night, you could hear the cattle go down the track to the creek, because sometimes they would bump into the house. You had to be careful on the road between the creek and their house. The cattle used it all the time. The cows didn't bother you, but you always had to be on the lookout for a bull.

Bob and Trude planted a garden on the lower lot. It was quite a job, and they were very proud of it. It really annoyed Trude when the cattle would trample the plants or stop to eat some of them. The cattle kept coming. The owners only checked on their cattle about twice a year, and the attitude was that you couldn't prove whose cattle it was that were destroying things. Trude gathered a big pile of rocks and stored them on the lower lot. Trude would go down to the lower lot and throw stones at the cattle to get them to move. That was really a funny sight until one day her family suddenly realized that she was not aware that the cow she was having trouble moving along was a young bull! Bob and Trude eventually put up a fence which kept the cattle out.

Trude and Bob spent a lot of time outdoors painting and doing pen and ink drawings. She, too, was an artist like her husband. She had many paintings in art shows as well. She was always encouraging everyone in the family to draw and paint. She loved color and always had suggestions on how to decorate a room. She also loved to dress in bright contrasting colors and liked the dramatic look. One of her sons was very talented at making jewelry, and frequently made her bracelets and necklaces out of silver and turquoise.

Trude was a petite woman and had red hair which she wore in a chignon on top of her head. She would wind a scarf around it. After moving to Arizona, she purchased a rattlesnake skin and frequently used it in place of a scarf.

Trude was so excited one day when she heard that Lucille Ball was buying land in their area. It was quite the topic of the day. Lucille Ball's brother was a real estate agent in Flagstaff, Arizona at that time. What a surprise it was for Trude to find out that she was the basis of this false rumor that someone had started, all because of her red hair. Trude and Lucille Ball were about the same age.

Trude and Bob loved having the family visit them. They loved to take hikes and show off the beautiful countryside. Trude would take the grandchildren to her favorite site and they would look for "Arizona diamonds," otherwise known as clear quartz crystals. She had a collection of them, some larger than a golf ball. She also collected broken pottery pieces. She would collect all the pieces and spend hours putting them back together like a puzzle. She had quite a few Indian pottery bowls that she was able to piece back together and she placed them on the mantel over her fireplace.

Another fond memory was when she saved a wallpaper sample book. A friend of her's had a store and was going to throw it out. Trude saved it for her grandchildren. The wallpaper was glued on the inside of cardboard boxes and the boxes were made into a doll house for Barbie dolls. Trude even hand-painted a picture to go on the wall in the living room of the doll house.

Trude was also very good at playing cards. One of her favorite games was Pinochle. As it always got dark early in the mountains and television reception was very poor, a deck of cards would be brought out quite often with dessert. Everyone would sit around the round dining room table and use the lazy susan to deliver the cards. As a child, that was truly fascinating! Trude had a great poker face and you could never tell what she was up to unless you watched her eyes. They usually gave her away. She was a much sought after partner when it came to playing cards and she very rarely ever lost.

When Trude's husband, Bob, died in 1979, she continued to live in Whispering Pines. Later, it became too physically demanding to keep the house warm through the winter. Instead, she moved down to Phoenix for the winters and lived with one of her sons. She loved to spend time each Saturday going to the malls with her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Eventually, Trude's health became worse and she entered a nursing home. Gertrude "Trude" Staude Williams Mackenzie died April 29, 1994 in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona.

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Created:  29 Apr 2001
Modified:  27 Aug 2001
Copyright © 2001-2003, Jennifer Volker

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