Sally Ann Rutledge

10/11/1937 – 12/8/2014

Sally_Ann_RutledgeSally Ann Rutledge, age 77, passed away on December 8, 2014 at her apartment on Queen Anne Hill, in Seattle, Washington.  She was born on October 11, 1937 in Seattle to Eugene and Rachel Sumpter Rutledge.  Sally and her brother were raised by her dad and stepmother in Boise, Idaho, after Rachel’s death when Sally was four.

Following high school graduation in Boise, Sally earned her B.A. at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma.  Her lifelong interest in foreign cultures and international relations led her to series of interesting careers.   She spent a year with the Red Cross in Korea (USO branch); worked at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair (in Immigration and Customs on weekdays, and on Saturdays at the Belgian Waffle House.)  She served as hostess at Seattle’s Canlis  and Trader Vic’s;  did modeling; went on a Unity International Goodwill mission to Europe, and attended Seattle Unity church throughout her life.

She worked for 32 years as Secretary and Personal Assistant to a series of Consul Generals at the Consulate General of Japan’s office in Seattle. Among her numerous duties, Sally  handled  preparations  necessary for the visit to Seattle each year by training ships from  Japan’s Maritime Academy for the annual Seafair Festival.  Many Seattleites had the pleasure of touring the sister ships,  the Nippon Maru and the Kaiwo Maru, and other tall ships when they were in port, and the excitement of watching them when they were under full sail.   Much later in her career, Sally Ann was invited to Tokyo by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in recognition of her years of service; she also received a special invitation from Japan’s Maritime Academy to Miyajima, Japan, in recognition for her work on their behalf for so many years.   In 2000, Sally Ann was awarded a Medal of Honor from the Emperor of Japan, a high honor for a foreign civilian.  After retiring from the Consulate, Sally Ann continued to work regularly  as a volunteer at the Seattle Ethnic Heritage Council for 12 years, helping with numerous ethnic  cultural festivals and visiting performing artists, as well as the annual July 4th Naturalization ceremony at Seattle Center.   Sally Ann excelled in protocol; EHC was the central focus of her life in her later years.   Although she never married or had children, she was deeply loved by her friends and former co-workers, as someone who was kind, generous, and unfailingly gracious and honest.  Those of us who knew her well, will miss her genuine smile and love for nature, animals, books and Seattle Mariners.

Sally Ann was preceded in death by her brother, Genie Rutledge, of Seattle, and her Aunts Ethel Walker, and Lucille Izard, both of Mountlake Terrace, Washington.  She is survived by her cousins Chris Donner of Shoreline and Dr. Roy Sumpter of North Carolina, and cousins in Nebraska.  At Sally Ann’s request there will be no services.   Please visit the online guest book for her, to share your memories.


5 Responses to “Sally Ann Rutledge”

  • Joan Johnson Barker says:

    Sally Ann was my second cousin. We did not see one another after her family moved to Idaho. I have a number of family movies from the time before that, and attempted to locate her since I thought she would enjoy seeing them. I found a Facebook page which I believed to be hers, and sent her a message identifying myself and asking to be her FB friend. It didn’t appear as if she was very active on it, and I never received a reply. If there is anyone who would be interested in these few films, which I have digitized on my computer, I would be happy to share them.

    It sounds like she had a wonderful career. I will share the obituary with my surviving first cousins. I wish I had had the opportunity to know her as an adult. Her uncle Del (James Adelbert Rutledge) had a son in California. As I recall, his name was Jamie. He isn’t mentioned in the obituary. I often wonder what happened to him as well. I believe her aunt Gracia also had children, but we have not been in contact with that part of the family either.

  • Tomiko says:

    Dear Sally,
    You have gone too soon, leaving behind many friends who loved you so dearly. I am looking back on those days when we went to the aquarium. I couldn’t help smiling when you were enchanted by a sleeping cute little baby river otter. You were calm and looked so happy. We enjoyed being together in a café at Pike St. Market with good coffee and desserts. We went to the Seattle Center when there was a special event on Bastille Day. And I loved to have lunch with you in my tiny apartment. We both like sweets.

    You were an excellent secretary, lovely friend and much needed person. I cherish a souvenir from you and love your photo taken with a deer. You were beautiful. I miss you, Sally. Love, Tomiko

  • Joy Pendleton says:

    Sally Ann was my college roommate at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma from the late 50’s to 1960 when we graduated.

    She was always a beautiful soul and easy to share a room with. Our last visit was in Seattle a few years ago when we shared our time with Wanda, another UPS friend.

    In the last few years I received a lot of email messages from Sally who was intrigued with beautiful images and messages.

    She will be so missed. Rest in peace, dear Sally!
    Love throughout the ages, Joy

  • Ava Philippus says:

    I just found out from a mutual friend of Sally’s that she had passed. I am sorry that I will no longer share stories with her. We worked together for several years at the Japanese Consulate, and continued our friendship afterwards. She was always so excited about her work with different cultures and truly dedicated to it. I especially enjoyed her stories of working on a dude ranch long ago! I smile that she lived for so many years in her lovely historic apartment in Seattle, that I found for her by happenstance, just when she was looking for a new one. I am sure that she is making new friends wherever she is now! Sally, I will miss knowing that you and your beautiful and accepting spirit are not here anymore. Ava

  • Colleen Ozora says:

    Dear Sally:
    Thanks for the many years (decades) of friendship we shared–8 years working together at the Consulate, your serving as maid of honor when Tomi and I were married; years of sharing good books, a mutual love of animals and nature, and spirituality. You were truly without prejudice, and you always worked to build bridges of understanding between people of all faiths, ethnic groups and cultures. You were kind and so much loved by all your friends. When I see butterflies, hummingbirds, beautiful flowers, and beautiful scenes in nature, I think of you.
    Blessings of peace, light and tremendous love, always,

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