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Audrey Ethel Rusnak (Gough), war bride, wife, mother, grandmother, volunteer, humanitarian passed away the morning of November 6 in Stow, Ohio. She was 92.
Audrey’s life was nothing short of inspiring, and her story is the story of America. She was born in Portsmouth, England in 1926 to Raymond and Lillian Gough. She grew up in Bristol, England, and graduated from All Saints Church School. During WW II, she survived the heavy bombing raids of the Battle of Britain by sleeping in a bank vault. As a teenager, she did her part in the war effort. She trained in emergency medical aid, worked as a civilian telephone operator and a volunteer with the Red Cross in humanitarian efforts, including caring for the injured and writing letters for the severely wounded. Memories of long absences, losses of family and friends remained her whole life. Yet, she believed in the goodness of humanity. On the 70th anniversary of the end of the War, she sent a gift of paper cranes to the memorial in Hiroshima along with her prayers for world peace.
She met SSgt. Mike Rusnak of Springdale, Pennsylvania at a Red Cross dance. They fell in love, corresponded during his deployment, and married in June 1945 at All Saints Church in Bristol. She wore a wedding gown made from parachute silk. She traveled to the United States on the SS Saturnia, arrived on St. Patrick’s Day, 1946, to a parade the war brides believed was for them.
She and her husband moved to Akron in 1946. She became a U.S. citizen in 1949. During the 1960’s she learned the art of cosmetics, which she sold at the grand entrance of O’Neil’s downtown Akron. Her beauty and English charm welcomed visitors. She continued to help others as a volunteer at Akron City, Summa Hospital for 30 years. She created floral arrangements for patients and staff at the Plant Place, and was once pictured on a hospital billboard. She had many friends at Summa.
Audrey was a member of Our Lady of Victory and St. Mathews Church. She loved her tea time, dogs, stray cats, birds and gardening –especially lavender and roses—once her rose garden covered her entire back yard, and she rarely missed a Cleveland Indians game.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Mike, in 1979; her beloved daughter, Patricia Eck, in 1995; as well as her parents; brother, Douglas Gough (England); and sister, Cynthia Poole (Zimbabwe). She is survived by sons Wayne Rusnak (Joyce) of Logansport IN, Michael Rusnak (Karen) of Stow; grandchildren Dawn Conner-Kraud, Heather Meahl, Aaron Rusnak, Julie Rayl, Adam Rusnak, Alison Pritts, Emily Rusnak, friends Don and Glenna Simmons; many nieces and nephews; and 10 great grandchildren.
She was the grand lady of our family and will be sorely missed. We celebrate the blessing of her long life, the faith she had in love that led her to accompany her husband to America, as well as the compassion she showed in helping others in a life of volunteer service. Her life was an inspiration to us all. The family would like to thank Summa hospital and Stow Glen.
Visitation will be 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. Monday, November 12, 2018 at the Donovan Funeral Home, 17 Southwest Ave. (on the Historic Tallmadge Circle).
Mass of Christian burial will be 11:30 a.m., Monday following visitation at Our Lady of Victory, 73 North Ave., Tallmadge with Rev. Michael Matusz officiating.