Gertrude Field Oliver
Gertrude Field Oliver
  • February 29, 1916 - August 18, 2014
  • Overland Park, Kansas

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Gertrude Field Oliver died on Monday, August 18, 2014. A life-long resident of Kansas City, Missouri, she was born on Leap Year Day 1916, one of three children and the youngest child of Russell Field and Gertrude Brown Field. Her older brothers, Russell Field, Jr., and Lyman Field predeceased her. She grew up on Holmes Street in Hyde Park and graduated from Southwest High School. She attended Vassar College and graduated from the University of Kansas in 1937. She married John Watkins Oliver in 1940. They were devotedly married for 50 years when he died in 1990. She was an avid supporter of his distinguished legal and judicial career. He was a heartfelt admirer of her many activities and talents. They had four children.

At an early age she became a leader in community affairs. She was student council president at Southwest High School and president of Pi Beta Phi at KU. She was president of the Junior League in 1945. While in the Junior League she was active in their Children’s Theater as well as being a docent at the Nelson Gallery. She was president of the PTA at William Cullen Bryant School, where all her children went to grade school, and Sunset Hill School, where her daughters went to high school. She was instrumental in setting up a children’s library in Bryant School. An inquiring reader, she was a Great Books participant for over a decade and an active member of several book groups in her later years. She shared her love of poetry as an informal teacher and reader. She was a member of The Diversifiers, a poetry-writing group, and loved writing poetry. The welfare of children was one of her central concerns. She was a discussion leader for Parenthood in a Free Nation, and helped start and taught in Head Start in Kansas City. She was a board member of the Children’s Relief Association, Planned Parenthood, Swope Parkway Health Foundation, and Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation. Continuing adult education was also a lively interest for her. She took many literature, art and history classes at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and served on the advisory committee board of the Carolyn Benton Cockefair Chair in Continuing Education as well as working with UMKC’s Friends of the Library, especially the used book sales. In the civic arena, she served on the United Nations Speakers Committee and the Mayor’s United Nations Day Committee. She also served on the Missouri Supreme Court Committee Overseeing Ethical Conduct of Lawyers in Jackson County, Missouri and was proud to have served on a federal grand jury in 1956. She was a member of the Society of Friends.

Gertrude Oliver will be remembered as dearly loved by all who knew her. She drew people to her like a magnet and enjoyed friends of all ages and persuasions. She felt she did not know a stranger. She loved trees and was curious about everything in this world and beyond. Throughout her long life she embodied the sentiments expressed in Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. She was also an inveterate charades player. For those of us who knew her, she had an amazing vitality, wit, sense of humor and intelligence that served her well in her long and much appreciated life.

She is survived by her two daughters, Trudy Oliver Bulkley (Jonathan Bulkley) and Zimra Korp (Avraham Korp) and her son, David Field Oliver (Mary Elizabeth Gresham); her grandchildren, Nathaniel Bulkley (Candace Bulkley), Nancy Bulkley (Noah Rosenzweig), Nechama Korp Shulem (Etai Shulem), and Joel Simcha Korp (Hadassah Korp); and her great-grandchildren Nina Bulkley Rosenzweig, Miles Conrad Bulkley, Yehuda Shulem, Daniel Shulem, Jonathan Shulem, Shira Shulem, Michal Shulem, Ayala Korp, Elisheva Korp and Yehudit Korp. Her sisters-in-law JoAnn Field and Phyllis Oliver and numerous nephews and nieces survive her.

Her first cousin Cordelia Murphy Ennis also survives her. Her oldest son, John Oliver, died in 1995. Her granddaughter Chava Ora Korp died in 2010 and her great-grandson Benjamin Oliver Bulkley died in 2009.

Additionally, she is survived by the devoted caregivers of her final years: Bennie Porter, Jeanne Reeder and Dee Robinson who took such good care of her and became her and her family's steadfast friends. Equal gratitude extends to the kind and attentive management and staff at Care Haven Homes of Kansas City and the recent workers from CareStaf of Kansas City.

There will be a private burial at Mt. Washington Cemetery. A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 2 p.m. at Mission Hills Country Club, 5400 Mission Drive, Mission Hills, Kansas 66208.

Memorial contributions can be made to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association: Heart of America Alzheimer’s Association, 3856 West 75th Street, Prairie Village, Kansas 66208 or a charity of your choice.