In Loving Memory of Gracie Leigh Sudano: 1930-2021


Gracie Leigh Sudano, beloved sister, godmother, aunt, “extra mom” and friend, passed away peacefully Dec. 19, 2021. She will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched — and there are many.

Born Feb. 6, 1930, in Pomeroy, Washington, to Philip and Arta (Tharp) Sudano, Gracie lived a long life of service to others. She attended LaVerne College in California for a brief time, where she met Rowena Essman with whom she remained best friends forever. Returning to the Pacific Northwest, Gracie started her 40-year career with Boeing as a skilled draftsman. She made many friends there and was always willing to help the young engineers get their sea legs. For most of those years, she drove the many miles from Yelm to Renton, usually driving a large van so other people could relax while she battled traffic and weather.

Her Catholic faith, to which she converted in her 20s, was the rock-solid basis for her entire life. She lived the Golden Rule every day. Whether it was helping raise Rowena’s two daughters, helping neighbors catch their cows, providing rides for elderly neighbors or distributing to the local community the bountiful produce from her large garden, Gracie always generously shared her time, talent and treasure. She was a long-standing supporter of the John Birch Society, and never tired of educating folks about our constitutional republic, the dangers of socialism and the advantages of “less government, more personal responsibility.” 

She always loved horses and enjoyed spending time with them — and sharing them with others. She volunteered at a therapeutic riding clinic in Olympia and Lacey for many years, trailering her beloved Fjord horse Leah to the clinic twice a week. She was so happy to see the children with disabilities bloom as they discovered the freedom and unconditional love that horses offer. 

She is survived by brothers Pete (Lorraine, deceased) Sudano and Dennis (Rosemary) Sudano, half-sister Zana Finch, niece Debbie (Doyle) Sudano Ledgerwood, nephews Mike (Mary Jane) Sudano and Donald (aka Skip) Sudano, three god-daughters TerriLee (David) Bishop, Jodie (Paul) Gilmore and Denise (Mike) Stevenson (also a niece), and a number of cousins and grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Her caring personality, ready smile and sage advice will be sorely missed by all of us.

The funeral will be held Dec. 30 at St. Columban Catholic Church in Yelm at 10 a.m. preceded by a Rosary at 9:15 a.m.