My dad has been dead for 3 months. He and I were close and I miss him, but I’m glad his suffering of the last few years is over.
One thing I wanted to do for him was his obituary. My attempt at that was used back in December with some editing by others.
I wanted to post the original version that I wrote somewhere, so I’m doing so here.
Jesus called Robert Terrell True home on November 27, 2015.
Bob True was a provider in every sense. He provided for his country, and family in so many ways. He provided not just things to live, but a reason to live for all those who loved him, and that made him a hero more than any Hollywood leading man.
He was born in Bentonville, AK on October 19, 1919, to Minnie and Thomas True. With his parents at age 5 he traveled in the back of a model -T Ford across the Rocky Mountains to southern Idaho, then Washington and finally Sunny Slope Idaho. He developed a fascination with machinery, their maintenance, and use in agriculture that would be his life’s work, and source amusement too
As a youth he worked on his parent’s farm and attended elementary school at Sunny Slope, near Caldwell, Idaho. He attended and graduated from Caldwell High, and when students needed a way to school in Caldwell he set up a private bus service to Caldwell High. He provided friendship that would go on to last a lifetime as well and was lauded as “ready when others are not”. He went on to study agriculture at the University of Idaho in 1939.
He was a passionate patriot, and after Pearl Harbor in 1941, beginning in February 1942 he served his country for almost 4 long years. The country boy: journeyed with other young men from across the US and lived on two continents under spartan conditions; tested weapons in the Galapagos; drove trucks for a convoy across the famous Burma road into western China; flew back into India at the end of the war in unpressurized plane (over the Himalayas) and with other members of his greatest generation provided the peace and security that has continued for the US since that time. He took the greatest pride in his service and his honorable discharge is on the wall of his home to this day.
After the war, he returned to complete his bachelor’s degree as a University of Idaho Vandal. He worked at the same time as a foodservice employee for his fellow Vandals. With his degree, he returned to farming on the property, the true family had worked for decades on Sunny Slope. True lane adjacent to the True farm is named for the family.
In 1953 he married Mary Alice Norris, and their marriage lasted 50 years. Bob and Mary had a marriage filled love and some of the usual conflict. With Mary’s help, Bob provided for his family not luxuriously but richly and well with things with true value. He provided a comfortable and loving home for Mary and his two children Bruce and Helen with plenty of food on table and a solid roof over everyone’s head (despite a small explosion in the furnace one winter evening). He often did the grocery shopping and always returned with some little treat for everyone as well as the basic staples. His daughter once made a Styrofoam hostess cake to hang from his pick-up’s mirror to indicate his fondness for these simple (if not healthy snacks). Perhaps sharing some his passions with his family was how he provided for them best.
Since his childhood, he had loved the outdoors hiking much of the Jump Creek canyon. Through the years, the True family enjoyed the beauty of Idaho both in deserts in Owyhee county and forests of Cascade, and Stanley area. On these trips, Bob provided the best tasting pancakes, eggs and bacon at breakfast under the blue Idaho sky one could ever hope for. On afternoon trips the Trues discovered everything from rattle snakes to an unexploded box of dynamite one day. Once, the Trues did venture “overseas” visiting Canada in the 1970’s. Bob kept his family safe while providing fun and memorable trips.
Trips to these locations were filled with discussions about if other drivers looked like celebrities of the time (Glenn Campbell for example) and other silliness. He had a great sense of humor and shared it with his family. Some winter afternoons were filled with collectively writing silly stories, accompanied by chalk drawing by his gifted daughter Helen. Over the years the Trues also enjoyed a double exposure that appeared to show Bob putting his head in his son’s birthday cake. He taught his kids that life can be hard, but you can laugh or you cry at hard times and the latter hurts a lot less.
Bob taught life skills. His life-long love of tools provided for his family. Bob built and repaired some of his own farm machinery. Hanging out in his shop you could learn a lot about how to use tools safely and successfully and a little basic chemistry as well. He was a wizard at repairing broken toys and sometimes improving devices from their original design. He revived his daughter Helen’s broken sewing machine, but even his formidable skills met their match in repairing a Tonka Toy run over by a tractor. He had a keen sense of the value of a dollar like other depression era children and passed that on, along with a love for hard work and self-sufficiency. He also taught courage and a willingness to take chances to get things done. His son Bruce felt that that these lyrics from Bruce Springsteen’s Walk like a man would apply to his dad:
I’ll walk like a man
And I’ll keep on walkin’
As in his military service, Bob was a patriotic family man. He voted in all elections, and shared a passion about politics with family and children. He retained this passion about news and politics for his entire life, and was a devotee of Fox News.
Finally, Bob provided for his children in good and bad times. He saw to it that both had the opportunity for higher education. He helped out in bad times too, including one long-term illness and a life-threatening car accident in the 1970’s. The most important thing he and Mary provided for his kids was the sense that there was never any doubt that they were loved no matter what.
Later in life, Bob and Mary enjoyed some extensive travel in an RV. They went as far as Death Valley and several times visited their son while he lived in California. In his 80’s he developed a passable familiarity with computers and internet that allowed him to stay in touch with far-flung family. He was good at assembling and using audio visual equipment as well.
Bob enjoyed three grandchildren and two great-grandsons. His daughter Helen and son-in-law Duane Noe had: Graham Robert Noe and Jenette Annabelle Noe. His son Bruce and daughter-in-law Christine Watson True had: Angelica True. His grandson Graham and his wife Irma Winterholler had Bob’s first great-grandson Miles Robert Noe in 2012 and a second Connor Elliot Noe in 2015. Bob is survived by all his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Bob and Mary’s time together only ended with Mary’s death in 2004 following Bob being able to keep her in the home she loved until almost the very last weeks of her life. Finally following Mary’s death in 2004 he moved to Wilder Idaho.
Thank you for being the man, the patriot, soldier, lover, and father you were. The apostle Paul wrote:
I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.
The same could be said of you, Robert Terrell True; you finished the race. We’ll never forget you and can never fully repay what you provided us with. Such Great Love.