Gertrude “Trudy” Casimira Mazzarella, a former Rosary Academy principal and founder of the Christ Cathedral docent program, has died.
Trudy, who lived in Anaheim Hills, passed away Jan. 26 after a brief illness. She was 87.
Trudy grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with a degree in education. A mother of five, she later earned a master’s in religious education from the University of San Diego.
After moving to California, Trudy taught religion at Marywood High School in Orange until the campus closed in 1980.
She then transferred to Rosary Academy in Fullerton, where she held a variety of positions — religion teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal and president — until she retired in 2011 after 31 years of service. Rosary has a scholarship fund named in her honor.
“Trudy Mazzarella was a champion for Catholic school,” said Dr. Erin Barisano, superintendent of the Diocese’s Catholic school system. “Her commitment to mission was evident in the way she led and interacted with others. She was a commanding presence whose engaging smile touched everyone along her path.”
Trudy’s legacy at Rosary is inextricably tied to the Tri-School Theatre, since renamed Trinitas Arts Conservatory. She served as a patron, performer and member of its Executive Board, becoming instrumental in its growth and development.
Trudy was a recipient of the Administrator’s Award by the Educational Theatre Assn. for her leadership as an arts advocate for the program.
“Trudy Mazzarella was a lover of the arts, but more importantly, she was a fierce advocate for all-girl education,” said Shawna Pautsch, Rosary’s head of school. “She inspired thousands of young women by her leadership. Her passion and faith were gifts to Rosary.”
Pautsch recalled that when Trudy was Rosary’s principal, she once dressed up as the Wicked Witch of the West, complete in green makeup, to distract from a recent paint job on campus. She even danced at a faculty talent show.
“So many of her students and their families could share similar stories,” Pautsch added. “Trudy demonstrated an unconditional love for everyone she met. She was a model of confidence that inspired me and so many others.”
In 2012, after the Diocese of Orange purchased the Crystal Cathedral campus, Trudy founded the docent program for the property that became Christ Cathedral. Trudy also spearheaded the program’s revival in 2022 after it went on hiatus during the COVD-19 pandemic closures.
For the Diocese, Trudy served on a variety of boards and committees. Her excellence was recognized over the years with various awards, such as the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Award from her alma mater, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
Trudy is preceded in death by her husband, Richard. She is survived by her five sons and their spouses: Richard (Kathy), Paul (Shohreh Abedi), Gregory (Peggy), John, and Peter; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A Mass celebrating Trudy’s life will be held on Friday, March 24 at 10:30 a.m. at Christ Cathedral. A reception will follow.
Trudy will be interred with her husband at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in a private family ceremony.
In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations be made to:
■ The Trudy Mazzarella Tuition Assistance Scholarship at Rosary Academy
■ The Colon Cancer Foundation