Gertrude (Trudy) Tear Plummer, a long-time resident of Westerville, OH passed away peacefully on March 28.
Born to Alton E. and Loretta S. Tear, in Painesville, OH, Trudy was the youngest of eight children and grew up in Lake County, OH. She attended Harvey High School in Painesville and graduated in the same class as her beloved husband of 57 years, Arnold (Arn) Merrill Plummer (1929-2009). She received a BA in English, magna cum laude, in 1951 from Lake Erie College for Women, where she made lifelong friends, several of whom still reside in the Columbus area. Fluent in French, she studied abroad in Paris and Switzerland in 1950 as part of the post-war Marshall Plan. As a young professional, she worked as a copy writer and editor for newspapers and radio stations in Ohio and Florida while Arnie served in the US Navy during the Korean War.
Education was foremost in Trudy’s consciousness. “Mrs. P” was a teacher in the Columbus Public Schools for thirty years, where she taught literature, composition, French, humanities, and American studies classes to thousands of students over the years at Central, Northland, and Columbus Alternative High Schools. In 1971 she was named Ohio’s Teacher of the Year and runner-up for the national title. She was frequently recognized by The Ohio State University for her work with its pre-service teacher programs and helped launch generations of student teachers into the professional ranks. Official accounts of her career do not capture the personal impact she had on students over the course of her decades teaching: students frequently visited her for guidance at her family home on Hoover Reservoir in Westerville; it was not unusual to see them stay for dinner or help decorate the family Christmas tree. She could always be counted on for frank assessments and candid advice given with kindness and encouragement. Her own children’s education was paramount, and she and Arn were proud to see all of them attend the colleges of their choice and go on to receive doctorate degrees.
Her classroom was not bound by the physical walls of a public institution. She was a student of nature in the tradition of William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson, taking inspiration and strength from the natural world; she could forage, and identify plants, birds, and animal tracks with ease—skills learned from her beloved father. To her last, she delighted in gathering bouquets of wildflowers. A voracious reader, she was most fond of the poetry of John Ciardi and John Berryman, and the novels of Joyce Carol Oates. Always a writer, too, she maintained correspondence with hundreds of people and left behind a remarkable collection of her own poetry written over a span of sixty years.
She was fierce in her love for her family, especially her children, whom she recognized at every visit despite other failings of memory. Her memory is cherished by all four: Nan Plummer (Jim Spencer) of Ypsilanti, MI; Daniel T. Plummer (Sherri) of Lake Charles, LA; Grant M. Plummer of Ypsilanti, MI; and Laura Plummer (Michael Nelson) of Bloomington, IN. Also surviving are six grandchildren: Kylee Spencer Sandquist of Minneapolis, MN; William Spencer of Detroit, MI; Margaret Spencer of Ypsilanti, MI; Christian Holding of Hominy, OK; Meghan Plummer Percy of Baltimore, MD; and L. Kenyon Plummer of Eugene, OR.
The family would like to thank the staff and residents of New Albany Rehabilitation Center, Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living, and especially Marcia Wool of Golden Guidance, for their companionship and care for Trudy in recent years.
Services will be private among the immediate family. A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in the name of Arn and Trudy Plummer to Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville, OH (https://www.inniswood.org/support-inniswood/donations/) or the Franklin Conservatory (https://www.fpconservatory.org/get-involved/giving/).