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Culture Emeline “Tru” Picht, 1932-2020

Emeline “Tru” Picht, 1932-2020

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Tru’s mother, Simonita Miera, learned of her impending nuptials when her sister walked into the store where she was working and announced, “Nita, come home and take a bath, you’re getting married!” Simonita was 16, Federico “Fred” Trujillo was 19. Fred and Simonita, married for 55 years, were the love of each others’ lives. They had seven children.

            Emeline Grace Trujillo, their second child, was born in Manassa, Colorado, on August 22, 1932. Her dad early on recognized something in Emeline, and after high school graduation he took her to enroll in the nursing program at Thomas D. Dee School of Nursing in Ogden, Utah, where she earned her diploma as a Registered Nurse.

            Clyde Wendell Picht was an Air Force ROTC student at Utah State University.  In 1955, he was in the hospital for minor surgery.  A friend who was dating a nurse aide at the hospital suggested that she visit Clyde.  She did, and she also introduced Clyde to a nurse who lived in the same rooming house. After he met Emeline, he knew she was the girl for him. They married six months later; she was the love of his life for 65 years.

            In the course of those 65 years, Clyde (she called him Wendell) and Emeline (he called her Tru, short for Trujillo) had four children. Tru was a military wife for 22 years, living in eight states and twice in Germany.  Several times during Clyde’s military career, Tru raised her children alone while Clyde served temporary duty out of state and out of the country, as far away as Morocco, Iceland, and Egypt. In 1966, the family moved to Utah to be close to extended family when Clyde was sent to Vietnam. She lived in dread each time she learned he’d been wounded. He was sent home after he was wounded for the third time.

            Tru worked as an R.N. in Massachusetts, and in Germany she was the Red Cross Chairman of Volunteers at Sembach Air Base and in Wiesbaden. When Clyde was assigned to Carswell Air Force Base in 1975, she returned to work as an R.N. In 1988, Tru finished what she started when she enrolled in nursing school in 1955 — she earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, making hers a family of six college graduates. In 1990, she received her license in Nursing Home Administration and eventually retired as a Nurse Aide Evaluator for the State of Texas. 

            Clyde joined the Fort Worth City Council as “Landslide Clyde” in 1997, where he served until 2005. Tru was his most energetic and enthusiastic supporter, spending countless hours on the campaign trail and standing by his side at every important function. She earned the admiration of many and made some of her dearest and most lasting friends during Clyde’s tenure on the council.

            Tru and Clyde prized education. That their kids would go to college was a foregone conclusion. They took music lessons and swimming lessons, participated in scouts and sports, and learned to appreciate natural wonders on family camping trips. They developed a love of travel on family vacations and from the necessities and benefits of military life. Tru grew up in a world of outhouses and migrant labor, where an Hispanic child could get in trouble for speaking Spanish in school. But she sang her Spanish children’s songs to her children, who grew up wanting to learn her language. Tru was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and her faith was strong throughout her life.

            People today talk about “privilege”.  But all other privileges pale next to parent privilege, which Tru and Clyde gave their children in spades. Not all children are raised as they deserve to be, by loving parents who fill them with dreams, teach them self-discipline, self-respect and loyalty, and give them, by example, a strong sense of fairness, justice and duty.  And even a healthy skepticism of authority.

            We’re left at the end with memories.  Our memories of Tru — our mom, grandmother and wife — are memories of her parents, still in love in their old age, and her sisters and brothers, whom she adored.  They’re memories of her proud and determined walk across the stage to get her diploma, the songs she sang, the music she loved, her friends and her courage. Her memories, her love of reading, and, finally, her voice were slowly stripped from her by Alzheimer’s Disease, but they still live in those who loved her. She changed people and made a difference. Emeline passed away on June 25, 2020. The world is better because she was in it.

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