Jean Rudolph

May 17, 1921 ~ December 14, 2018 (age 97)

Jean wrote her own obituary as follows;


Jean Rudolph, 97, died December 14, 2018 of heart failure.  She was born in Iowa to Carlton and Theresa Cummings, who moved to Moscow in 1929.  He was head of the U of I Music Dept. and later started the Vandaleers singing group.  He raised Arabian horses in his retirement.  Theresa was known for giving dramatic readings.  Jean's brother, George, was killed on Guadalcanal in 1942.

Jean graduated from Moscow High School and the University of Idaho with a business major.  Her first husband, Ron Harris, was killed in a plane crash in 1944 while training navigators for the Air Force, and she returned to Moscow with her infant son.  As an instructor in secretarial studies at the university, she taught typing to Navy radio school personnel.

In 1946 she married Vernard "Rudy" Rudolph, also an Air Force officer, and finished work on her master’s degree while he was overseas during the Korean War.  He died in 1955 after a car accident.  Returning to Moscow, she taught at the university again before marrying Leigh Marlatt and living in Pullman for 12 years.  After a divorce she moved to Moscow for a final time and either taught or worked in offices on campus until retirement.

An enthusiastic traveler, she visited 136 countries, snorkeled at many remote islands, and gave slide shows about her travels.  Some of her happiest times were sailing her Sunfish sailboat on Priest Lake.  She was a member of Pi Beta Phi and PEO, and a master’s swimmer.

She is survived by son Doug (Joanne) of Pullman, stepdaughter Ardie Marlatt Hilden of Olympia, son Jim of Austin, TX, six grandchildren, Jonathan (KC) Rudolph of Mobile, AL, Jennifer Rudolph Myers of Mobile, AL, Bonnie Hilden (Doug) Mackenroth of Olalla, WA, Kacey (Emily) Hilden of Olympia, WA, Krista Hilden (Terry) Shigg of San Diego, CA, Nicole Freeland of Austin, TX, and 10 great-grandchildren.

 At her request, there will be no services.  Contributions may be made to the Latah County Historical Society or the Northwest Children’s Home in Lewiston.


It was typical Jean to be so organized and write her own obituary, however we feel compelled to make an addition.  She was active throughout her life and always maintained her independence.  She lived alone in her duplex and was still driving.  She swam 3 times a week, played bridge 2 or 3 times a week, delivered meals on wheels until it became too hard for her, and was photo editor for the Latah County Historical Society.  

Traveling was a passion and she would take her grandchildren on trips, including crash landing in a hot air balloon in Africa.  Jean was always ready to try something new be it a new restaurant or a new country.

Playing bridge was a constant in her life being taught as a child as the family needed a 4th person to play.  She learned to love it and continued to play her entire life.  She enjoyed reading and watching Jeopardy and kept her mind very sharp.  She was a force to be reckoned with in any trivia game.

Many a summer she spent at Priest Lake where she would sail her little sailboat.  She loved Priest and started going there in the 1930's and had a cabin at Indian Bay for a number of years.  Lots of great stories came out of those stays.

She was a Masters swimmer and still held some national records.  Jean said her dad taught her and brother how to swim by throwing them in Lake Michigan.  Guess it worked and she swam anytime she could find water.

Jean donated hundreds of hours to the Latah County Historical Society, taking care of photos.  Many an old photo she was able to identify the place and/or people.  She enjoyed helping others find that special photo or info they were looking for.  She had just recently retired as the steps at the mansion were getting harder for her to negotiate.

She will be sorely missed by friends and family.  The family wishes to thank Dr. Parker for her loving care of our mom and Gritman Medical for her end of life care.

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