Trudy Fennell, a legendary and beloved figure in the orchid world, passed away on June 2, 2009, after a brief illness. She was born in Miami, Florida, on April 6, 1926. She married the celebrated owner of Fennell’s Orchid Jungle, Thomas A. Fennell, Jr., on March 8, 1950. Trudy was not born into an orchid family as was her husband, but destiny brought them together during the period when she was the first floor manager of Burdine’s Department Store in Miami. Tom, with his usual flare for orchid displays, had established an orchid kiosk at Burdine’s, and as a consequence, the couple met over orchids.
From that point until Tom’s death in 1988, Trudy was a constant figure on the orchid scene. She along with her children were engaged in setting up the legendary displays at the Miami shows, attending the World Orchid Conferences including the first one, but Trudy was best know as the “orchid greeter.” Trudy met every visitor who came to the Orchid Jungle in Homestead, Florida, with her ever-present smile and enthusiasm for life. She led tours, answered untold numbers of questions about orchids, but she was also a devoted wife and mother who embraced a deep faith. Trudy became a successful retailer of all things orchids when she opened her own business at the Orchid Jungle, The Patio Gift Shop, which had five immense live oak trees growing through it. Her inventory was diverse and ranged from local orchid creations to the finest European imports.
Trudy never met a stranger and could engage in conversations with total strangers just as though she had known them all her life. During the last WOC, she attended a private party honoring the 125th anniversary of the founding of Vacherot and Lecoufle, where she had the opportunity to be with many people that she had not seen in years. In the typical Trudy fashion, she went up to each person, gave them a hug, and began a conversation just as though they had see each other the day before. I will treasure having known her and will always cherish what she said that wonderful night during the WOC, “orchids are just so special aren’t they, they bring such wonderful and interesting people together.” Trudy will be missed by all that knew her. Requiem Aeternum
Trudy’s many friends extend condolences to the entire Fennell Family.
Jeff H. Bradley