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Gilmore Rudman: July 13, 1897 - April 1, 1993
If you walk down Walnut Street in Martinsville, VA you may notice the word GILMORE'S BOOT SHOP stretching the height of a corner building. And you may wonder who Gilmore was. Beginning about 1929 Gilmore Rudman operated a shoe store in that building. It was a tiny little shop stacked to the ceiling with shelves of shoe boxes. Gilmore reached them by way of a ladder which slid back and forth on runners. Gilmore was born in 1897 in Baltimore and died on April 1, 1993 in Martinsville, VA. And Gilmore had a brother named Joe Rudman who worked in the men's department at Globmans. Bob Fusfeld, a Martinsville native who lives in Wisconsin, knew Gilmore well and offers some of his memories here:

My grandfather's shoe store and Kingoff's Jeweler's were directly across the street. I recall the holidays when we would stand in front of Ray Feldman's window, watching his decorations and the train set in the Advance Store. Such are wonderful memories. I would run into Gilmore and Minnie Rudman's shop. I would yell, Gilmore, you got money...he would give me a nickle. They had this ladder connected to a trolley and he would climb it to retrieve shoes. Gilmore had very bushy eyebrows and a sense of humor that would not quit. He could tickle my funny bone! Well during our services or plays all he had to do was wrinkle his forehead; those eyebrows and his smile would send me into hysterics. Sometimes I really paid the price. I just could not contain my laughter and embarrassed my family and one time a sunday school teacher named Ann Hollander. I will never forget it. Gilmore Rudman lived a very long time. The Rudmans were a wonderful couple. I loved them and my grandmother Anna was best friends with Betty. They were competitors but most respectful ones. When I was working for a private hospital in Green Bay in the early 80's, one of the adminstrative staff was heading out to the Shenandoah Valley. I told her about Martinsville and said if they drove through there I would appreciate a photo of the Courthouse. It was '81 or 82; well, when she returned she brought a few photos. Of course there was the Courthouse and a couple of older men sitting by those cannons. And walking down that little street a shot of this man from the rear near what would have been the Virginia Shoe Shop next to Patterson's. I called my Dad and I told him that someone brought me a photo from Martinsville and it is Gilmore Rudman. We cried ... Gilmore had a gait all his own. I bet he was in his eighties then; I never saw him or Betty Rudman after we moved. I could not believe of all things ... the shot of that little street where Gilmore's, Percy and Anna's shop, Kingoff's, Pattersons, and the Virginia Shoe Shop. I never told them that they took a photo of my world...how strange.

From a Reader, Pat Rudman Fine: Gilmore Rudman was my dad! I absolutely loved this article and I am so grateful to Bob Fusfeld for his comments about my parents and his boyhood memories. (My mom's name was Minnie. Betty is my sister, Gilmore and Minnie's daughter).


From A Private Collection


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