Allison Louise (Herrick) Grundman
March 18, 1947 — July 1, 2019
Family, friends and the community bid farewell to a remarkable woman, Allison Louise Grundman. Allison was a fifth-generation Californian who lived a true pioneer woman’s life. She loved to travel the Oregon Trail, hunted wild game all over North America, locally helped countless expectant mothers prepare for childbirth, and with her beloved husband of almost 50 years raised a family awed by her values of hard work, kindness, strength of character, wisdom and bravery.
Allison was born in Stockton, California in 1947, to loving parents Robert and Dorothy Herrick. She was the oldest of five siblings, and after graduating from Lodi High School (where she never missed a day), she earned her Nursing Degree with distinction from San Jose State in 1968. Shortly after graduation, she began a career of giving to her local community as a Labor and Delivery nurse at Redwood Memorial Hospital. Allison was known to have a compassionate heart towards every mother who came through the doors, calming and coaxing them to “10 centimeters or bust” (that saying was also a bumper sticker on her car). Many an expectant mother asked to have her personally attend to them upon arriving at the hospital; such was her reputation for warmth, caring and clever sense of humor. She had an infectious laugh and shared it often. She was known to laugh heartily at every joke that reached her ears.
During her time at nursing school Allison met her best friend and the love of her life, Tom Grundman. He liked to say he hit the “biggest jackpot of all” with her, and Allison knew she had found “the best of all of them” when he remembered on their second date that she didn’t like pickles and onions on her hamburger. That started a love affair of more than fifty-years that she was fond of telling everyone was “never boring.” Tom is forever thankful that in Allison he found a loving partner, a dedicated mother and grandmother, and a lifelong friend who he will fondly remember and greatly miss every single day.
A few years after starting her nursing career, Allison briefly left the business of caring for others and was absolutely delighted to start and care for her own family. She leaves behind three children (four if you include Tom, and she often did by remarking “you always marry your first child”). Her daughters Sarah, Molly and son John all benefited greatly from her guiding values and her maternal skills. One Christmas she gave each of her children a “mom likes me best” t-shirt, such was her warmth and humor. She also doted on and adored her six grandchildren. She dedicated her life to giving her family every opportunity possible along with unconditional love.
A true lover of the hunt and lifelong member of Safari Club, Allison at first reluctantly followed Tom on hunts that would eventually stretch all over North America and bag her some of the biggest game. To the chagrin of many a male hunter, Allison was known to be a crack shot who recently dropped a bear from 585 yards away. On her many, many hunts she brought home countless deer as well as elk, and a moose. Her love for the outdoors and nature led her to the recent passion for discovering the county’s local butterflies. She found so much joy going on a butterfly hunt with her husband and dear friends.
Many members of the community knew Allison from her more than 35 years as a dedicated and talented Lamaze instructor and coach at Redwood Memorial. She was a self-proclaimed “professional heavy breather,” and with warmth and humor coached countless local mothers through the rigors of preparing to give birth. Allison often coached three generations of mothers in some families, and her son-in-law who lives locally always has people telling him — “your mother-in-law helped bring my entire family into this world!” The city of Fortuna and surrounding communities will always remember Allison’s tireless work preparing mothers for their big moment in the delivery room.
Allison’s gifts to the community were not limited to helping birth countless babies and feeding half the town with her delicious cookies. She was also a well-known and selfless volunteer. She started as a Girl Scout Troop leader, a Room Parent, and a School Board member. She later joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (past Regent), the California Sisters of the DAR, the Redwood Genealogy Society (past President), and the Elk and Mule Deer Foundation (lifetime member). She founded and curated the Redwoods Museum of Culture and Natural History, and she worked tirelessly for her beloved Redwood Hospital Dance Committee (which she was a founding member and proudly served for 37 years).
Allison’s love of the American West and later her love of genealogy took her on travels both locally and all over the world. She loved finding headstones of relatives in Scotland, boating on waterways, visiting obscure diners, perusing historical landmarks, searching for gems and semi-precious stones and occasionally dinosaur bones with her beloved husband and their lifelong friends. She earned her nickname “Concrete Fanny” after a brutal six-hour slog across an icy lake in Nowhere, Canada. At their destination campground, while men twice her size were bellyaching about the harsh conditions, she said to all — “come on it wasn’t that bad!” She always showed astonishing fortitude and strength, and had a perfect record of no complaint ever crossing her lips.
Allison went to her eternal rest on July 1, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. Words cannot express the depth of the sadness and loss felt by her family and friends. In her usual unassuming and humble way, she requested “no one make a fuss or feel sorry for me,” because “my life was genuinely rewarding and truly lived.” She spent her days filled with love and laughter, had both domestic happiness and worldwide travel, had lifelong friends and a loving family who will carry her spirit on with them wherever they go.
“Sally,” as her family knew her, was never one to sweat the small stuff, always saying, “it’s no big deal.” To those of us left behind, you were a big deal, and you’ve left a hole in our hearts. You were also a big deal to everyone in your community who knew and loved you. As we regrettably bid farewell, we trust that the recollection of a virtuous and well-spent life will comfort your soul on its journey to the hidden world beyond. Her family hopes you will always think of the joy Allison brought to all when you see a beautiful butterfly pass by.
Allison is survived by; her husband Tom Grundman, her children Sarah Cox, Molly Gerbosi and John Grundman, their spouses Jay Cox, Michael Gerbosi and Amber Grundman, her six grand children Madeline, Bowdrie, Allison and Chloe Cox, Gigi and Charles Gerbosi, her siblings Phyllis Herrick, Charles and Priscilla Herrick, Jane Paul and John and Lisa Herrick.
Her family would like you to join them for a celebration of Allison’s life at 1pm on July 20, 2019 at the Bear River Casino in the Tish-Non Ballroom, 11 Bear Paws Way, Loleta, CA, 95551.
In lieu to flowers, the family requests that contributions can be made to either:
The Eel River Valley Chapter NSDAR
PO Box 814
Fortuna, CA 95540
The Redwood Genealogy Society
PO Box 632
Ferndale, CA 95536
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Allison Grundman’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.