Perine "Petie" Rudy, one of the wonders of the Madison community, passed away on June 30, 2016, surrounded by friends, family and an abundance of love.
Born on January 7, 1936, in Kenosha, WI, Petie was the daughter of Ernest and Antonia Perozzi. She attended Mary D. Bradford High School where she met Ron Rudy, the dashing upperclassman who would become her husband. The couple’s three-and-a-half-year courtship, mercifully preserved in two shoeboxes filled with letters, poems and drawings, culminated in a marriage ceremony on July 5, 1958, Ron’s last year of medical school.
After stops in the Twin Cities for Ron’s internship, the Great Lakes Naval Station for his two-year stint as a medical officer, and a return to the Twin Cities for his orthopedic residency, Petie accompanied her husband and two young sons to Ron’s new practice at Madison’s Dean Clinic in 1966. Once settled in the city that would become her lifelong home, Petie embarked on a career as diverse as the guest list at one of her frequent dinner parties.
After majoring in electives for 25 years, Petie graduated magna cum laude from Edgewood College in 1978 with a BA in Theater Arts. By then she had added to her already busy life one daughter, one neurotic black Labrador and an ever-growing collection of "crisscross my heart" true stories that were as entertaining on their tenth telling as on their first.
Petie’s many job titles reflect a life devoted to meeting new people and constant learning. She served as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Psychologist Association for three years, was Co-founder and Partner of the Valperine Art Gallery for twenty years and Co-host and Co-producer of Boo and Petie, Too, a one-of-kind radio talk show that enjoyed a logic-defying 16-year run on WTDY-AM.
A talented actress, Petie always aspired to be the next Helen Hayes. Instead, she found her biggest acting fame bounding across stages as far away as London playing Tigger in the Childrens’ Theater of Madison touring production of Winnie the Pooh. Petie played the role with such unfettered joy and enthusiasm that even thirty years later, her grandchildren nicknamed her Tiggs.
Petie never stopped working to make her community a more vibrant place to work and live. Her many civic-related titles include President of the Childrens’ Theater of Madison, docent at Chazen Museum, Trustee at Edgewood College, Co-founder and Co-chair of Madisons first-ever Winter Carnival and Frostiball, Coordinator of Madison’s first two Holiday Parades, Co-founder and Co-chair of Edgefest, Director at St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation and Director at Bank of Middleton.
Her efforts did not go unrecognized. Her many accolades include the Arthritis Foundation Distinguished Service Award, Catholic Charities Visionary Award, Downtown Madison Salute Award, Edgewood High School Distinguished Service Award, Wisconsin District Sertoma Service to Mankind Award, Downtown Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award, the Edgewood College Distinguished Alumni Award and inclusion on Madison Magazines list of Fifty Most Influential People.
But Petie’s pride in her own achievements paled in comparison to the love she felt for her husband of 53 years and family members near and far. Fiercely loyal, incessantly worrying, constantly encouraging, she was the sun around which her children orbited. She taught them to write thank you notes, to never take life or themselves too seriously, and to always keep their hearts and homes open to someone in need of a friend. They will miss her pep talks, her asking five times if they wanted a third helping of food and her constant quest to find her missing sunglasses.
In her prime, Petie was a surprisingly good skier, a mediocre tennis player and a highly entertaining golfer. She loved travelling, the theater, her kitchen, a good book and spending time with her family and many friends.
In addition to her husband, Petie is predeceased by her parents, Antonia and Ernest Perozzi; her in-laws Paul and Anna Rudy; sister Marjorie Dittrich; brother-in-law Clarence Rudy; and nephew Wesley Rudy.
She is survived by her sons, Paul (Terry) Rudy of San Diego; Peter (Shauna) Rudy of San Rafael, Calif.; daughter Analisa Rudy (Eric Mott) of Madison; brother Will (Claudia) Perozzi of Temecula, Calif.; two adored grandsons, Luke and Griffin Rudy; five granddogs; and a legion of cousins, nephews, nieces, godchildren, friends and extended family who will all miss Peties kindness, laughter and epic tales of misadventure.
We wish to express our tremendous gratitude to the many people involved in Peties medical care. Sometimes it takes a little suffering to experience the real power of love and compassion, and we thank everyone, especially Dr. Alissa Weber and the nursing staff at Dean Hematology and Oncology Clinic and St. Marys Hospital, who helped her battle her disease with courage, dignity and humor.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 602 Everglade Drive, Madison, on Friday, July 29, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. with Father Bart Timmerman presiding. A visitation will be held at the church on Thursday, July 28, 2016, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and on Friday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of Mass.
Memorials in Petie’s name may be gifted to the Childrens’ Theater of Madison, 228 State Street, Madison, WI 53703; the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundations Greatest Needs Fund, 700 South Park Street, Madison, WI 53719; Edgewood College, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, Madison, WI 53711; or Edgewood High School, 2219 Monroe Street, Madison, WI 53711. Please also consider making a life-saving donation of blood to your local blood bank.
Petie’s favorite expression was, "It’s all too much." It was her unique way of laughing in the face of the many obstacles, self-created and otherwise, that life threw in her path. The truth is, nothing was ever too much for this remarkable woman, and her many friends and loved ones will forever miss her reassuring reminders that nothing is ever too much for them, either.
Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com.