Robert G. True ’68 died on May 7, 2023, in New London, North Carolina.
(The following was provided by the Pugh Troy Funeral Home on May 12, 2023)
Robert Goward True of New London, NC, passed away at his home on May 7, 2023. He was 76.
Bob was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, on October 24, 1946, to John True and Olga Olson. He was smart and hard-working and won a scholarship to Bowdoin College in Maine, where he waited tables in the dining hall to help pay his bills. Right out of college, while driving a taxi and contemplating what to do next, Bob met and married Juliet Elizabeth Burley. They had a daughter and lived on a farm in New Hampshire as a young family, where they had many happy days and funny adventures. They kept goats and named one Ringo because they thought he looked like Ringo Starr. Although they divorced after a few years, they kept things amicable before it was fashionable to do so.
It was while living on the farm that Bob discovered a love for horses; he decided to become a veterinarian and was accepted to Cornell University where he graduated at the top of his class. As with college, he worked his way through Cornell and often ate peanut butter sandwiches as his main meal. After graduating with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, he moved cross country to complete his residency at the University of California at Davis. For that move, his young daughter drove cross-country with him on her summer school break. She made peanut butter sandwiches for them to eat and thought it was the height of fun and freedom on the open road. They camped along the way, and Bob showed his daughter the magic of a sunrise in Badlands National Park.
Bob loved to read, and he devoured books until the day he died. He passed his love of reading on to his daughter and named her Galadriel, after a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. He also named most of his many pets after Tolkien characters. His most marked characteristics included a sharp intellect and curiosity about the world; he could also be very funny and playful. He stopped for hitchhikers whenever he could; he remembered what it was like to have very little money and to need a ride.
Bob spent many happy years living in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, where he had a thriving practice as a well-respected equine veterinarian. Not a fan of office jobs or sitting down, Bob enjoyed spending his days driving all over the foothills to see his clients. He always joked that he liked his patients (animals) more than his clients (humans), and that was at least partly true. During these years, he was married to Sallie Phillips; they spent many happy years together and she was a good stepmother to his daughter.
Bob always loved camping and hiking, and he shared these loves with everyone in his life and introduced his daughter to the simple joy of cooking over a campfire. Bob enjoyed camping in the backcountry on horseback with family or friends, but he would also go off on his own for a week to commune with nature. He was comfortable in solitude. Once he had enough money to afford more than peanut butter sandwiches, Bob started to treat himself to expensive hobbies and adventure travel. He fell in love with white water kayaking, rock climbing, SCUBA diving, ice climbing, riding motorcycles, and many other high-adrenaline activities. He traveled to Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Nepal, Truk Lagoon, and countless other places. Wherever he lived, he put up a world map with a pin in all the places he had visited.
In mid-life, Bob reconnected with an old friend from Cornell, Lizette Hardie, and moved to North Carolina to be with her. Lizette was the love of his life and one of his dearest friends. While their partnership did not last forever, she was important to him and he spoke of her with love and admiration.
Bob’s daughter, Gala, was a constant in his life. They bonded over music, SCUBA diving and travel, and they shared many physical, intellectual, and spiritual characteristics. They disagreed over many things as well, but always remained close. He loved and respected her husband, Morgan. He treasured his grandchildren, Maya and Max. He had many wonderful friends over the years who shared his adventures. In the last years of his life, Bob moved to a little place near a lake where he made friends with kind neighbors who looked out for him, invited him over to watch football games, and shared family dinners with him. Of the many, many pets Bob had over the years, none was more beloved than his little Jack Russell named Shadow. She was his shadow for fourteen years, and his heart was broken when she died.
In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his brother, John, and his sister, Joan.
Bob is survived by his daughter, Gala True (Morgan Miller) of New Orleans, LA.; grandchildren Maya True Miller and Maxwell True Miller; and by several nieces and nephews and their families.