Trudy Sundberg’s legacy helping the community

Trudy Sundberg photo
Trudy Sundberg

Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith speaking about his most recent book “Who Stole the American Dream?,” an analysis of the growing gap in income and wealth in the United States. Free, open to the public.

  • Friday, May 6, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, Langley. Doors open at 6 p.m. for an informal reception in Zech Hall. Presentation is set for 7 p.m. on the Main Stage, followed by a question-and-answer session.
  • Saturday, May 7, Coupeville High School Performing Arts Center. The presentation is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.
  • Listen to interview with Hedrick Smith on KSER radio, 90.7 FM at 4 p.m., Tuesday, May 3.

On Whidbey Island, “Sundberg” is synonymous with community.

A longtime Oak Harbor High School English and journalism teacher, Trudy Sundberg loved literature, history, the arts and advocacy.  She was a lifelong member and three-term president of the League of Women Voters of Whidbey Island.  Sundberg also founded the Save Our Kids Crusade anti-violence coalition in the 1990s.

When she passed away in 2013, Sundberg’s family and friends quickly began looking for a way to honor her legacy and keep her commitment to community and education alive. That search led to the creation of the Trudy Sundberg Memorial Fund.  Working with the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, Sundberg’s family members and friends began the process of creating an ongoing fund that would continue to bring the things she loved to the community she cared so deeply about.

A growing endowed fund is now in place to underwrite a lecture series that will explore Sundberg’s areas of interest, including education, literature, history, the arts, civic engagement and politics.

Dr. Marshall Goldberg, a retired Oak Harbor physician and friend of Sundberg, was a driving force behind the plan. He worked with Oak Harbor Library managing librarian Mary Campbell and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation to set up the memorial endowment. For Goldberg, it was a fitting way to honor and keep alive the memory of an extraordinary Oak Harbor woman who impacted and inspired him and so many others on Whidbey Island.

“She was very eclectic and interested in a lot of things,” Goldberg said of Sundberg. “So it was important to do this in a way that was appropriate for her.”

Campbell said just the process of raising money for the fund continued Sundberg’s penchant for community building. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to be able to contribute something that’s going to do good long into the future and provide memories of someone very special to Oak Harbor,” Campbell said.

Goldberg’s vision of an annual, significant speaker event is about to become reality.

On May 6-7, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith will be the speaker for the first installment of the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series.

Smith will speak about his most recent book “Who Stole the American Dream?” an analysis of the growing gap in income and wealth in the United States. At 7 p.m., Friday, May 6, Smith will speak at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley. An informal reception will start at 6 p.m. in Zech Hall. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, Smith will speak at the Coupeville High School Performing Arts Center.

As a New York Times reporter, Smith was a member of the news team that broke the Pentagon Papers story in 1971, which won him a Pulitzer Prize. In 1974, he again won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Soviet Union and its allies. Smith also won an Emmy Award for his documentaries on the PBS series, “Frontline.”

“The enthusiasm and tremendous support for this lecture series from Trudy’s family, friends, the community and Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation is a testament to her legacy,” Goldberg said. “Trudy made a real difference in her community, and I’m thrilled that we can honor her memory with such a renowned speaker on a topic that meant so much to her.”

Tax-deductible contributions to the Trudy J. Sundberg Memorial Fund may be sent to the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, 7312 35th Ave. NE, Marysville, WA 98271. Contributions may also be made online at  Select "Giving" under the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation tab to support the endowment.