Netta Engel Tudhope, lovingly referred to as “Billie” by friends and family and “Grandma Booie” by her grandchildren, passed away peacefully on March 5, 2021. Billie was born on March 23, 1932, to William Engel and Netta Engel. She grew up in East Williston in Long Island, N.Y., where she graduated from Roslyn High School. Billie earned her nickname from her tomboy style — her mother struggled to get her inside for piano lessons because she was busy playing baseball.
Billie’s family vacationed during summers in North Hero, Vt., where she met Doug Tudhope at the Town Hall Dance. She later studied dental hygiene at the University of Vermont before marrying Doug in 1951. They then moved to Richford for nine years, where Doug had his first teaching job. At only 19, Billie coached the cheerleaders of the school and updated their uniforms with a design based on her own high school uniform.
Billie and Doug had three daughters together: Jane, Sandy and Mary. For years, Billie was a stay-at-home mom to her three daughters. After they left for college, Billie started her career in real estate brokerage. She later founded Billie Tudhope Realtor in North Hero and began a lifelong friendship with Betty Little, her teammate. While Billie’s home was North Hero, she loved to vacation on Captiva Island, Fla., where she enjoyed time with her kids, grandkids and friends. Billie’s love for the ocean began as a child, when she often went to the beach with her parents on Long Island. While she loved Lake Champlain, she missed the ocean when she moved to Vermont. With visits to Captiva, she had the best of both worlds.
After surviving breast cancer, Billie became an advocate for women suffering from breast cancer and worked hard to ensure they were given the guidance and compassion essential for healing.
Billie was a warrior! She overcame breast cancer four times, as well as endured the limitations of a stroke and the passing of her daughter, Sandy, yet she always maintained an upbeat and positive outlook. Billie’s fun, feisty, dynamic and loving personality was a gift to everyone she met. She had a reputation for making friends with anybody she talked to, always learning their names and their stories. Billie was a lover of music, especially old show tunes and jazz from artists like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. She had a beautiful singing voice and was known to spontaneously break into song. Billie was a gem!
Billie is survived by Doug Tudhope, her husband of 69 years, and her daughters: Jane (and her husband, Bill) and Mary. Grandchildren include Dan Shearer, Courtney Shearer, Ben Shearer, Sarah Bowley and Peter Bowley. Billie’s two great-grandchildren are Henry Shearer and Amelia Shearer. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Janet Austin. Billie will be dearly missed by all who knew her.
Due to COVID-19, an outdoor service will be held later this year. Arrangements are being made through Stephen C. Gregory and Son Cremation Service. Donations can be made to CIDER for all of their help with transportation: P.O. Box 13, South Hero, VT 05486 and/or Grand Isle Rescue, 3 Faywood Rd., Grand Isle, VT 05458.