Gertrude (Trudy) Olean Bradley Fann went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. She was 99.
Born on May 22, 1923, on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, N.C., she was the eldest daughter of nine children born to the late Julia Emma McCoy Bradley and General Washington Bradley. She was a proud, enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Trudy graduated from Cherokee High School in 1940 and then attended Bacone College, a school for North American Indians, in Muskogee, Okla. She originally wanted to be a teacher, but when WWII began in 1941, she chose to pursue her associates degree in nursing at Knoxville General Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn.
Prior to her last six months of nurse’s training, the federal government expressed a need for more nurses to help with the war effort, and she volunteered to serve in the Navy branch of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, which began with a ride on a troop train to Oakland, Calif., where she helped care for 8,000 war-wounded at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital before the war ended in 1945. She was always delighted and proud to tell everyone about her journey across the United States by train to serve her country during a time of crisis.
She then traveled back to Oak Ridge, Tenn., where she worked as a nurse in a doctor’s office until she met her husband, the late Samuel Ray Fann, Sr., originally of Greeneville, on a blind date. On Nov. 2, 1946, they exchanged wedding vows in the home she shared with several nursing school friends at 110 Ulysses Lane, Knoxville.
She moved then to Johnson City where she and Ray started a family. Trudy worked as a full-time registered nurse at the Mountain Home Veterans Administration Hospital for 30 years, and an additional 10 years part-time at the former Specialty Hospital (now Turning Point).
She was an active member of the former Calvary Presbyterian Church (1947 – 1972) and Asbury Presbyterian Church (1974 – 1980) as well as Johnson City Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (1980 – 1993). She is a current member of Westminster Presbyterian Church since 1993, where she served on the pastoral search committee, the missions committee, and with the senior citizens fellowship.
Trudy devoutly prayed for others and took food to the sick and bereaved. She did this gladly and with compassion until she was no longer physically able.
Her Christian faith was very deep and strong, and she lived it more than she spoke about it, with integrity and love and forgiveness. She rarely complained; was very independent, highly intelligent, and always grateful for her blessings, having overcome the limited life available to her on the Qualla Boundary. She was a hard worker, extremely self-disciplined, and she carried herself with elegance and grace.
Trudy was a member of the former Johnson City Christian Women’s Club and served as president for one year. In 1994, at the age of 70, she traveled to Ukraine and served as a short-term missionary for one year with Mission to the World (MTW) after the fall of the Soviet Union. There, she assisted in the development of a medical clinic in the rural community of Belgorod. In the mid 1980’s, she also initiated the first Alzheimer’s Disease Support Group in Johnson City.
She loved crocheting, sewing, and painting china, often making things that she generously gave to family and friends.
She is survived by her five children: Samuel Ray Fann, Jr., Hampton; Rebecca Susan Freeze, Huntsville, Ala.; Benjamin Bradley Fann, Boone, N.C.; Timothy Vernon Fann, Huntsville, AL, and Julie Annette Fann, Johnson City; as well as 11 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2243 Knob Creek Rd, Johnson City, Tenn. with funeral services afterward at noon. Burial will follow at 2 p.m. at Monte Vista Cemetery, 1900 E. Oakland Ave. Those wishing to attend the committal service are asked to please meet at the cemetery.
The family would like to thank the former pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Dr. Jim Richter, who will deliver the eulogy, and his wife, Linda; current pastor Rev. Andy Wyatt; as well as her church family who visited her, prayed for her, and sent cards and flowers throughout much of her life but especially in her final years and days. They also want to thank the kind staff at Dominion Senior Living for their loving care for her for the past five years. She was loved by many and will be very much missed.
Those who wish to may, in lieu of flowers, send a monetary donation to Mission to the World, P.O. Box 744165, Atlanta, GA 30374-4165.
Memories and condolences may be shared via www.morrisbaker.com
Morris-Baker Funeral Home, 2001 E Oakland Ave, Johnson City, is honored to serve the Fann family.