December 6, 1951 – January 9, 2013
Trudy Vertucci-Ardizzone, noted Christian educator, poet, playwright and teacher, died Jan. 9 at age 62.
Trudy Vertucci was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She was the third of four children born to Harold J. Vertucci and Angela DiDio.
After getting her teaching degree from Brooklyn College she began her professional career as a NYC special education teacher, but realized early on that she could better serve special-needs children and their families by being their advocate. She returned to school and received a master of social work degree at Hunter College and began a 12-year career as a clinical social worker specializing in children and families.
In 1981, she married Joe Ardizzone and in 1983 gave birth to their daughter Francesca. The family moved to Southern California in 1987 where Trudy served as clinical director at a shelter for abused children. In 1989, seeking a church home, the family joined St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar (Diocese of San Diego). Trudy quickly involved herself in church life by volunteering to help with the Sunday School. As she did with all things important to her, Trudy prepared for this work through learning. Her passion and creativity quickly caught the attention of the rector who asked her to be the director of the Sunday School.
Thus began a 23-year career as a religious educator whose highlights included serving as a consultant to the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and the National Episcopal Church Office of Christian Formation, for whom she wrote curricula and trained teachers, and as missioner for Christian formation at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lompoc (Diocese of Los Angeles). She completed a three-year certificate program from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Children and Youth Ministry and also completed the Seminary of the South’s four-year Education for Ministry program, also serving as an EFM mentor.
Trudy’s vacation Bible school curriculum, “Wizards and Wonders,” based on the Harry Potter series, was published by Leader Resources in 2002 and quickly became one of its all-time best sellers. At the request of the wider Episcopal Church this curriculum was used for the children’s program at the 2003 General Convention in Minneapolis. In 2009, Trudy headed the team that presented the Discovery Center for Life-long Christian Formation at the General Convention in Anaheim. Her latest VBS curriculum, “The Peaceable Kingdom,” will be published in 2013 by Leader Resources.
Trudy also was an accomplished poet and playwright. Two of her poems appeared in a 2009 anthology titled Lifting Women’s Voices. At a Poetry Slam at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, Calif., she brought the audience to its feet when she performed one of her poems, “The Lost Girls,” and got the only perfect score of the night.
She collaborated with her sister June Vertucci on the musical The Pink Chat Room, which had a month long run at CASA 0101 in Los Angeles. She edited and directed the musical Jesus Knows the Blues, including a performance in a prison yard at Donavan Correctional Facility. The funds raised by these performances helped to support the KAIROS community in San Diego. Trudy also produced benefit concerts for Episcopal Community Services in San Diego.
In addition to her sister, she is survived by her husband Joe; her daughter Francesca and her husband Frankie VanHooser; her brother Richard Vertucci, his wife Veronica, and their children Harry and Marie.