Lillian Susie Traut

lillian traut



Lillian Susie (Rollman) Traut passed away in her sleep in Boulder, Colorado on January 23rd, 2011.  She was 91.


She was born Dec. 26, 1919 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  She was the daughter of Martha Lillian (Pearson) Rollman and Harold Francis Rollman.  Her legal name was Dorothy Elizabeth Rollman, chosen to honor her mother’s youngest sister Dorothy Pearson and her father’s youngest sister Elizabeth Rollman.  However, when her mother died on January 3, 1920 from complications of childbirth, the family resolved to call her Lillian in honor of her mother.


Her father, Harry, died seven months later on July 28, 1920.  Harry Rollman and his brother Earl had gone to a lake near Buford, Wyoming to fish.  When the fish weren’t biting they decided to cool off in the water, although neither of them knew how to swim.  Unfortunately, Harry got in too deep and drowned.


Young Lillian became the legal ward of her paternal grandparents, Jennie and Lewis Rollman. They lived in Buford, Wyoming, a small town near Cheyenne; and later in North Platte, Nebraska.  She also lived for a time with her Aunt Catherine (Rollman) and husband Reuel McFarland in the Red Feathers area northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado.


When she was three years old, her mother’s family obtained a court order for her to live with them for six months so that she could be a flower girl in a wedding in Salt Lake City.


In 1925 she moved to Englewood, Colorado to again live with her paternal grandparents who had purchased a modest home on South Delaware Street.  As her father was the oldest of seven children, Lillian had many aunts and uncles who were like older siblings to her.  She once described the home as having “an outdoor privy, kerosene lights, a coal range and heating stove.”   “We had some chickens, a goat for milk and raised strawberries and vegetables.”  The home had a piano and Lillian learned to play.  When her aunts and uncles had children of their own, the task of babysitting fell to Lillian.  When her young cousins had trouble pronouncing the name Lillian, they took to calling her Susie.  Somehow the name stuck and she used that name with close friends and family her entire life.  She attended Hawthorne school, Englewood Junior High and Englewood High School.  She graduated in 1937.


It was in high school that she met Joseph Traut, who lived on the Traut farm near the Rollman home.  They were married in 1938 and lived for a while at the Traut farm.  Their son Edward Joseph was born in 1938.  A second son, Donald Paul was born in 1940.  Joe attended aircraft mechanics school in Ohio in 1941 and in 1942 the family moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Joe was employed as a mechanic at an airbase.  In June of 1944 Joe was inducted into the U.S. Army.  He became an aircraft mechanic working on spotter planes for the Artillery Division in Europe.  After the war, Joe returned to Sioux Falls and worked as an automobile mechanic.


In Sioux Falls, the family first lived in an apartment and later bought a house.  In 1947, Ed contracted polio.  Lillian took charge of his extensive therapy.  When a doctor recommended that his leg be amputated, she insisted that it not be.  Also in 1947, her daughter Charlotte Marie was born.  A third son, Kenneth Allen, followed in 1952.


In 1953 Joe bought an auto repair shop in Littleton Colorado and the family moved back to Englewood.  They purchased Joe’s father’s house on South Logan Street.


With Joe working long hours establishing his business, raising the family was mostly Lillian's responsibility.  In addition, she became a caregiver for her now widowed and elderly grandmother, Jennie Rollman, visiting her weekly and later, daily, as Jennie aged and eventually became blind before she died in 1961.  She was active in the PTA and was a den mother for Ken’s cub-scout pack.  She also handled some of the office work for Joe’s business.


One day she went to the grand opening of a local bank to hear her daughter’s friend play in the Dixieland band.  She put her name into a promotional drawing and won a new car, a 1962 Plymouth Valiant.


In 1967 she got a job at a local dry cleaner in Englewood. She was a skilled seamstress and later took a job doing repairs and alterations for a tailor shop in Denver. She enjoyed bowling, watching the Broncos and Rockies, fishing, camping and spending time with her grandchildren. She had a group of women friends with whom she played cards.


In 1978 Joe sold his business and began doing car repair work from the family home.  After he died in 1983, Susie lived alone.  She did volunteer work for the American Legion and was active in the local Democratic Party.  She finally had her antiquated kitchen remodeled; she bought a new car and for the first time in her life, she got a pet cat.  She and her friends went on many trips with the Englewood Senior Center.  She also traveled with friends and relatives.  In 1990, she joined the Mayflower Congregational Church at the suggestion of her friend Helen Lujin.  She and Helen were in charge of mailing the weekly church bulletin.


In 1994 she had a back operation.  Although she recovered physically, the procedure seemed to trigger a depressive illness from which she never totally recovered.   She sold her house and moved to an assisted-living facility in Littleton.  As age and health problems took their toll, she moved to a progression of assisted living facilities and finally to Boulder Manor Nursing Home where she passed away.


She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Traut, her oldest son, Edward Traut, and a great grandson, Dylan Blue.


She left behind an extensive family:


Son: Don Traut and wife Carole of Arvada

Daughter: Charlotte and husband Richard Wollesen of Berthoud

Son: Kenneth Traut of Boulder


Ed’s family:

    His widow Barbara Knoll of Lakewood

       Granddaughter: Tammy Blue and husband Deron Blue of Lakewood

       Grandson: Scott Traut of Lakewood

       Great grandchildren: Thomas Blue, Daniel Blue, Jeremy Traut and Jasmine Traut

Don’s family:

    Granddaughter: Lisa Burgesser and husband Todd Burgesser of Firestone

    Granddaughter: Susan White and husband Jeffrey White of Westminster

    Granddaughter: Trudy Moon and husband Robert Moon of Arvada

    Great grandchildren: Calvin Burgesser, Conrad Burgesser, Elsa Burgesser, Jessie White, Seth White and Kelly Moon


Charlotte’s family:

    Grandson: Daren Wollesen of Arvada

    Grandson: Brandon Wollesen of Edwards




 Funeral services were held at the Bullock Colonial Chapel on Wednesday, February 2, 2011  at 11:00 a.m..  Visitation will be held from 9:30 am until 11:00 am (prior to service).  Private interment will take place at Fort Logan National Cemetery.



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