OBITUARY

Woodley Oren Truitt, Jr.

October 3, 1935May 20, 2020

My dad, Woodley Oren Truitt, Jr. was a member of Siloam Masonic Lodge in OKC, Scottish Rite in the Valley of Guthrie and Past Worthy Patron of the Shawnee Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. Dad was very proud of being a Mason and having served as Worthy Patron in the Shawnee Chapter of Eastern Star.

Dad was born October 3rd, 1935 in Oklahoma City to Woodley Oren Truitt, Sr. and Dorris June Truitt (Webb). He was raised by his mother and stepfather, Raymond Troy ‘Pete’ Stewart. Born with a curiosity for how things worked, around age 5 he took apart a clock that did not work, reassembled it making it run and keep time with pieces left over. He declared that the reason it didn’t run was that it had too many parts. A few years later he led the neighborhood kids in collecting and using war surplus communication wire and equipment to build an intercom system between their homes up and down the street so that they could talk to each other from their bedrooms.

Dad was always fixing, building or modifying something mechanical, electrical or electronic. In his early teens, a relative had a radio in their home but the relatives next door did not, dad got an extra speaker and built a speaker box, then strung wire between the houses connecting the speaker so that radio programs could be enjoyed in both homes.

A few years later when he had his own car, he figured out how to construct a simple device to send a jet of flame from the car’s exhaust pipe. Equipping his car with this, other high schoolers were excited by it and wanted one, his invention was soon in demand and he was installing them in the tailpipes of cars driven by friends and classmates.

In high school he was a projectionist traveling between classroom to show movies for teachers who did not know how to operate the projector. He was a member of the RADIO CLUB, taking a lead role in constructing a school AM radio station and afterward entertaining students and faculty as a school DJ. Dad would often share happy memories of these days and talk about how COOL the radio club members were wearing their white overalls with the club logo on the back and their brown derby hats. Dad’s interest in radio would become a hobby that he would pursue most of his life. He became a Ham Radio operator communicating with other radio operators around the world and even receiving transmissions from the first amateur radio operator in space.

Dad graduated from high school in 1953 he soon was employed as a projectionist in an OKC movie theater. It was here that the young lady who sold tickets and worked the refreshment counter caught his eye and won his heart. Dad told me he knew right away he wanted to marry her. And on June 6th, 1955 Woodley Truitt and Wanda Schuldt were married. They were inseparable. Dad always said mom was his sweetheart and they were together 64 1/2 years until God called mom home last December.

After they were married dad worked as a TV repairman until going to work in the federal civil service. Beginning at Tinker Air Force Base, dad installed and repaired the radio and radar equipment in B-52 bombers. The work he did was so secret that it took 3 separate security badges and facial recognition by the guard to get into the area where he worked.

Mom and Dad wanted to have children, mom would have had 3 or 4 if possible but they only had one. On April 5, 1958 their only child, Woodley Oren Truitt III was born.

One day at Tinker, Dad’s work was interrupted when he was called from the hanger, hurried into a staff car and rushed out to the tarmac where a very special aircraft was waiting. Handed off to an Air Force Colonel he was introduced to a General “this is Mr. Truitt, he is the man to fix your radar.” The aircraft was known by the code name, LOOKING GLASS. It was the mobile headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. If there had been an attack on the USA and the NORAD command center at Cheyenne Mountain disabled, LOOKING GLASS would have coordinated national defense and response. Essential to our national defense, LOOKING GLASS, was continually in flight landing only to change crew and resupply. The radar onboard had stopped working and it was essential that it be repaired as quickly as possible. Dad accomplished the repair and with the thanks of Air Force brass, LOOKING GLASS was back in the air.

In October of 1963, dad called home and told mom to pack him a bag of clothes and toiletries and bring it to Tinker. They were in lockdown and not allowed to leave. Russian missiles had been discovered in Cuba and we were preparing for war.

In 1966 dad moved from working for Department of Defense to the Department of the Army, transferring to Fort Sill and the Ground Surveillance Radar School. He would spend the remainder of his career in this field. Beginning as an instructor he invented and built the first device for simulating artillery air bursts to train operators to track and locate artillery pieces. For this he received a commendation from the Artillery School Command.

Dad transferred to Fort Huachuca AZ in 1969. He advanced from instructor to writing the instruction materials. During the years at Huachuca he was scouted by and approached by a clandestine government agency. One day in 1982-3 he was called to the office of the Commanding Officer. Entering the office he saw the C.O. And two men in civilian suits. Dad said he was introduced to them but not given their names. They asked him many questions about his background and seemed to already know the answers. Finally getting down to business they told him that they were looking for someone with his expertise to go to Southeast Asia, construct and maintain a series of ground surveillance radar stations creating a chain stretching across South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Thankfully he was wise enough to decline the offer. Accepting such a roll would have necessitated spending at least a year in South Vietnam and had word leaked out as to his position and assignment there would have been a target on his back.

In 1974 he returned to Fort Sill where he took on the role of evaluating new developments in radar technology and new radar systems developed by private companies in the defense industry and submitted to the military for testing and adoption. It was here dad worked for the remaining decade of his service until his career was cut short by a fall that caused him a debilitating spine injury.

After retiring from government service, dad and mom moved to OKC where they cared for his mother the last few years of her life. During this period dad took up painting, discovering a hidden talent, he produced a number of beautiful landscapes and portraits.

In the mid-1990s dad and mom moved to the country to what became their Forever Home. Dad and mom often said one of their greatest joys was the unexpected miracle of their granddaughter, Sarah. She brought joy to their lives and I believe they both lived more years than they would have through this joy.

Dad was called home May 20th, less than 3 weeks before June 6th which would have marked dad and mom’s 65th anniversary. Dad told me many times he wished he had gone first and looked forward to being with mom again. I believe mom was waiting for him and they are reunited where they will never be parted.

Services

  • Visitation

    Monday, May 25, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Memories

Woodley Oren Truitt, Jr.

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FROM THE FAMILY
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Biography

My dad, Woodley Oren Truitt, Jr. was a member of Siloam Masonic Lodge in OKC, Scottish Rite in the Valley of Guthrie and Past Worthy Patron of the Shawnee Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. Dad was very proud of being a Mason and having served as Worthy Patron in the Shawnee Chapter of Eastern Star.

Dad was born October 3rd, 1935 in Oklahoma City to Woodley Oren Truitt, Sr. and Dorris June Truitt (Webb). He was raised by his mother and stepfather, Raymond Troy ‘Pete’ Stewart.
Born with a curiosity for how things worked, around age 5 he took apart a clock that did not work, reassembled it making it run and keep time with pieces left over. He declared that the reason it didn’t run was that it had too many parts. A few years later he led the neighborhood kids in collecting and using war surplus communication wire and equipment to build an intercom system between their homes up and down the street so that they could talk to each other from their bedrooms.

Dad was always fixing, building or modifying something mechanical, electrical or electronic. In his early teens, a relative had a radio in their home but the relatives next door did not, dad got an extra speaker and built a speaker box, then strung wire between the houses connecting the speaker so that radio programs could be enjoyed in both homes.

A few years later when he had his own car, he figured out how to construct a simple device to send a jet of flame from the car’s exhaust pipe. Equipping his car with this, other high schoolers were excited by it and wanted one, his invention was soon in demand and he was installing them in the tailpipes of cars driven by friends and classmates.

In high school he was a projectionist traveling between classroom to show movies for teachers who did not know how to operate the projector. He was a member of the RADIO CLUB, taking a lead role in constructing a school AM radio station and afterward entertaining students and faculty as a school DJ. Dad would often share happy memories of these days and talk about how COOL the radio club members were wearing their white overalls with the club logo on the back and their brown derby hats. Dad’s interest in radio would become a hobby that he would pursue most of his life. He became a Ham Radio operator communicating with other radio operators around the world and even receiving transmissions from the first amateur radio operator in space.

Dad graduated from high school in 1953 he soon was employed as a projectionist in an OKC movie theater. It was here that the young lady who sold tickets and worked the refreshment counter caught his eye and won his heart. Dad told me he knew right away he wanted to marry her. And on June 6th, 1955 Woodley Truitt and Wanda Schuldt were married. They were inseparable. Dad always said mom was his sweetheart and they were together 64 1/2 years until God called mom home last December.

After they were married dad worked as a TV repairman until going to work in the federal civil service. Beginning at Tinker Air Force Base, dad installed and repaired the radio and radar equipment in B-52 bombers. The work he did was so secret that it took 3 separate security badges and facial recognition by the guard to get into the area where he worked.

Mom and Dad wanted to have children, mom would have had 3 or 4 if possible but they only had one. On April 5, 1958 their only child, Woodley Oren Truitt III was born.

One day at Tinker, Dad’s work was interrupted when he was called from the hanger, hurried into a staff car and rushed out to the tarmac where a very special aircraft was waiting. Handed off to an Air Force Colonel he was introduced to a General “this is Mr. Truitt, he is the man to fix your radar.” The aircraft was known by the code name, LOOKING GLASS. It was the mobile headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. If there had been an attack on the USA and the NORAD command center at Cheyenne Mountain disabled, LOOKING GLASS would have coordinated national defense and response. Essential to our national defense, LOOKING GLASS, was continually in flight landing only to change crew and resupply. The radar onboard had stopped working and it was essential that it be repaired as quickly as possible. Dad accomplished the repair and with the thanks of Air Force brass, LOOKING GLASS was back in the air.

In October of 1963, dad called home and told mom to pack him a bag of clothes and toiletries and bring it to Tinker. They were in lockdown and not allowed to leave. Russian missiles had been discovered in Cuba and we were preparing for war.

In 1966 dad moved from working for Department of Defense to the Department of the Army, transferring to Fort Sill and the Ground Surveillance Radar School. He would spend the remainder of his career in this field. Beginning as an instructor he invented and built the first device for simulating artillery air bursts to train operators to track and locate artillery pieces. For this he received a commendation from the Artillery School Command.

Dad transferred to Fort Huachuca AZ in 1969. He advanced from instructor to writing the instruction materials. During the years at Huachuca he was scouted by and approached by a clandestine government agency. One day in 1982-3 he was called to the office of the Commanding Officer. Entering the office he saw the C.O. And two men in civilian suits. Dad said he was introduced to them but not given their names. They asked him many questions about his background and seemed to already know the answers. Finally getting down to business they told him that they were looking for someone with his expertise to go to Southeast Asia, construct and maintain a series of ground surveillance radar stations creating a chain stretching across South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Thankfully he was wise enough to decline the offer. Accepting such a roll would have necessitated spending at least a year in South Vietnam and had word leaked out as to his position and assignment there would have been a target on his back.

In 1974 he returned to Fort Sill where he took on the role of evaluating new developments in radar technology and new radar systems developed by private companies in the defense industry and submitted to the military for testing and adoption. It was here dad worked for the remaining decade of his service until his career was cut short by a fall that caused him a debilitating spine injury.

After retiring from government service, dad and mom moved to OKC where they cared for his mother the last few years of her life. During this period dad took up painting, discovering a hidden talent, he produced a number of beautiful landscapes and portraits.

In the mid-1990s dad and mom moved to the country to what became their Forever Home.
Dad and mom often said one of their greatest joys was the unexpected miracle of their granddaughter, Sarah. She brought joy to their lives and I believe they both lived more years than they would have through this joy.

Dad was called home May 20th, less than 3 weeks before June 6th which would have marked dad and mom’s 65th anniversary. Dad told me many times he wished he had gone first and looked forward to being with mom again. I believe mom was waiting for him and they are reunited where they will never be parted.

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