She was born on March 5, 1918, in the Town of Colonie, New York, to Wanton and Elka Budlong. She attended and graduated from Nott Terrace High School in June 1936. She went on to study at Russell Sage College, but her education there was cut short by her mother's death. Later she graduated from Mildred Elley School in 1939 and then returned to school in her 50s at the College of New Rochelle. She received her bachelor's degree in May 1975 at the age of 57.
During her career, she worked at the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York, as a secretary; at Shaker High School in Latham, New York; and the Manufacturer's Hanover Trust in New York City.
In 1942, she married Jackson L. Sothern, with whom she lived in Latham for many years. The couple moved to Palo Alto in 1983. Here she became involved in wildlife and environmental advocacy and dedicated much of her time to the local nonprofit, Environmental Volunteers.
She was predeceased by her husband, Jackson, in 1994. She is survived by two daughters, Nancy Sothern Mueller of Palo Alto and Cynthia Budlong Sothern of Ruxton, Maryland; two grandchildren, Gregory Sothern Mueller of Matthews, North Carolina, and Carin Mueller Rollins of Palo Alto; and five great-grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held in Palo Alto. Memorial donations can be made to Environmental Volunteers, 2560 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303.
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