Gertrude “Trudy” Kloosterman ’50 Smith

Gertrude (“Trudy”) N. Smith, age 93, a resident of Holland, Michigan, passed away on January 26, 2022.

She was born May 15, 1928, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the only child of Tom and Winifred (nee Hilmert) Kloosterman. She was a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School and Hope College.

In the Spring of her senior year at Hope College in 1950, a professor asked “Gertrude” what her plans were after graduation and she replied, “Teaching.” The professor replied that “Trudy” fit her better than “Gertrude,” so, from then on, she was “Trudy” (except that her father continued to call her “Gert”). The same professor was leaving Hope College to serve as a Lansing Public Schools administrator and offered her a job in the Lansing (Michigan) Public Schools. The following fall she began a 34-year career as an elementary teacher that was interrupted by her pregnancy and the births of her three children.

She and her husband Gordon (“Gordy”) Smith were married for 70 years until his death in November 2021. They met at a gathering of the United Church Fellowship (a combined effort of four downtown Lansing, Michigan churches) around Thanksgiving time 1950. Gordy’s cousin Maxine was visiting from Texas and asked Gordy if there was anyone he wanted to meet. He pointed to Trudy. Maxine immediately walked across the room and said to Trudy, “my cousin wants to meet you.” She then formally introduced them. They married the following June 1951.

For many years, Trudy was active in the Sparrow Hospital Auxiliary that operated the hospital gift shop and supported hospital patients.

She is survived by her sons Dr. Craig Smith ’78 (Char) and Scott Smith (Mari), granddaughters Heather Smith and Laura Hillman (Matthew), grandsons Paul Smith (Kristen) and Jason Smith (Stephanie), and six great-grandchildren, Wilding (“Wiley”) and Oren (children of Paul and Kristen) and Tobin (“Toby”), Dora, Thea and Max (children of Jason and Stephanie). She was predeceased by her daughter Cheryl Aleman (Omar), who served as a judge in Broward County, Florida after working decades as a prosecutor.

A family memorial will be held later. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to Hospice of Holland, 270Hoover Blvd, Holland, MI 49423 ( The family is being served by Langeland Sterenberg Funeral Home.

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