Devotion is truly a word that characterized Una Mae (Rusti) Van Rooy throughout her life. Born November 29, 1932 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Ted and Sadie Russell and named after her grandmothers, Unis and Mae. Rusti remained dedicated to her parents’ lessons, often quoting maxims from her childhood. Rusti spent her early years traveling for her father’s work as a Ford executive including stops in Minneapolis, Dearborn, Michigan, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil before the family settled in California.
Her high school and college years were spent in Southern California at Glendale High where she first acquired the nickname, Rusti, and then at Occidental College where she earned a B.A. in Psychology as part of the Class of 1954.
She then journeyed north to Seattle to start her working life including time at IBM. It was there that she met the love of her life, Bill Van Rooy. Given how much she adored him, it surprisingly took three proposals for her to say “yes”. She truly loved Bill, the family they built, and the life they shared together over more than 60 years of marriage. Perhaps Rusti should have written an advice book on successful parenting given that she raised a teenager in each of four decades from the 1960s through the 1990s while still maintaining her sanity. She is survived by daughters, Cindy of Pasadena, Kathy of Newhall, Christy of Baltimore, Maryland, and son, Billy of Santa Monica.
Rusti also loved learning, especially through travel. Large filing cabinets were filled with detailed notes of their travels to places such as China, South America, Europe, Canada, Alaska and her beloved Kona Village, Hawaii. She was a trendsetter as well, documenting meals with photos long before Instagram and Tik Tok.
Rusti was also known for devotion to her community and causes she loved, spending many years as a leader with the Girl Scouts, the Assistance League, and the Mother’s Guild of Mayfield Senior School.
Her retirement years were spent with Bill, living most of the year in Roche Harbor, Washington. Rusti loved the Pacific Northwest weather and the San Juan Island lifestyle. She and Bill also found a whole new community through their travels northward on their boat, Tahoma.
Rusti’s grandchildren brought out a special level of devotion. She loved to spoil them at Christmas and on birthdays with the gift they truly wanted but weren’t sure they could ask for. In her final years, she was also blessed with two great grandchildren.
Whether she was called Una Mae, Rusti, Mom, Grandma or Gigi she will be remembered as a woman devoted to family, friends, and causes she loved.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to one of the following organizations
Orca Conservancy www.orcaconservancy.org, Crossroads, Inc. www.crossroadswomen.org
June 2nd 12:00 p.m.