Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Edward G. "Butch" Trudell

Former Marine Butch Trudell had stories that emerged over time

ST. PETERSBURG — As the story goes, Butch Trudell, then 17, was about to take a swim at Naval Air Station Bermuda.

A couple of official-looking men in suits told Mr. Trudell, the son of a Navy commander, to stay out of the water.

But then another man emerged from the water and reversed the order. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles introduced himself with a handshake and waved off the men standing watch. Mr. Trudell didn't tell the story until last year.

Mr. Trudell died March 19, a few weeks after being diagnosed with cancer and congestive heart failure. He was 68.

"He kind of kept things to himself," said Betty Trudell, his sister. "If you asked him a question, he'd tell you about it."

He could chat for months with people of his generation and not mention his year and a half as a Marine in Vietnam.

At parties, he watched as conversations overlapped — then erupted in laughter or pitched in with a story.

Mr. Trudell grew up everywhere, the son of a Navy pilot who became a commander.

He attended Notre Dame and graduated from the University of South Florida. He worked as a property clerk for the city of Lakeland, a manager for a holistic ointment supplier, an accountant for H&R Block. He was clever with electronics, and once assembled a color television from scratch.

He drove a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. He wore Hawaiian shirts and liked to go barefoot. He dated but never married.

Mr. Trudell read history, particularly about World War II. He took Windjammer "tall ships" cruises to the Caribbean.

He owned a mobile home and a black shih tzu named Chu Chu.

In recent years, Mr. Trudell moonlighted as a customer service representative for an airport limousine service, reserving limousines around the United States over the phone.

In July, he told his sister, he fielded a call from an Army general who wanted to be picked up at Dulles International Airport.

"Do you know where that is?" the general asked.

"Yes, sir," Mr. Trudell replied. "It's 26 miles from Washington, in Virginia. It's named after John Foster Dulles, the secretary of state under President Dwight David Eisenhower."

After the anecdote, Mr. Trudell told his sister about meeting Dulles in 1958.

"It only took him 50 years to tell me," said Betty Trudell, 63. "That's Butch."

A few weeks ago, doctors at the VA discovered a malignant mass on his adrenal gland. His condition worsened rapidly. In a lucid moment a week before he died, Mr. Trudell told his sister, his only survivor and closest friend, where he kept the title to the mobile home he owned free and clear.

It was hers now, he said.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or


Edward G. "Butch" Trudell

Born: June 18, 1941.

Died: March 19, 2010.

Survivors: Sister Betty Trudell; dog Chu Chu.

Former Marine Butch Trudell had stories that emerged over time 04/01/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 6:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The rise and humiliating fall of Chris Cantwell, Charlottesville's star 'fascist'


    The white supremacists, nationalists and far-right trolls who starred in last weekend's violent Charlottesville, Virginia, rallies have suffered no lack of humiliation in the days since.

    White nationalist Chris Cantwell has had quite the week after being featured prominently in an HBO news program on the march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. [Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post]
  2. MLB umpires wear wristbands to protest 'abusive player behavior'


    Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands during games Saturday, protesting "abusive player behavior" after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez.

    Home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn wears a wristband to protest "abusive player behavior" on umpires by players as Rayburn heads to his position to call the first inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and and the Colorado Rockies late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Denver. [Associated Press]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey could regroup but stay clear of Florida


    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop into severe weather.

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
  4. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue


    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.