Harold F. Truax

Harold F. Truax enjoyed collecting Hess trucks as much as he liked working on real vehicles.

GUILDERLAND — Quiet and hardworking, Harold F. Truax was respected — in his work as a mechanic, by his family who loved him, and even in his hobby restoring Ford V-8s from the 1930s.

His work on cars was emblematic of his approach to life.

“He did everything from the bottom up,” said his wife of 63 years, Joanna Truax.  “He didn’t use any filler; everything was brought back to original. He won quite a few trophies; he was respected.”

Mr. Truax died on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, at his Guilderland home.

“Harold was a quiet man who didn’t like confrontations,” recalled his wife, who noted his friendliness and easygoing ways. “He wasn’t a pushover, though; he held firm to his convictions. He just didn’t argue about them.”

Mrs. Truax also said, “He never said anything bad about anyone as he didn’t want anything he said to hurt a person’s reputation.”

Mr. Truax was born to the late Frank and Florence (née Frisbee) Truax and grew up in Knox in the Helderberg Hilltowns. His mother was a homemaker, raising Mr. Truax and his two sisters, and their father was a farmer, growing vegetables, which he pedaled.

“He also had bees in the forms; he’d pedal those in the village,” said Mrs. Truax. “Harold liked to go to Web Stevens’ store for a Coke. One time, he didn’t have any money so he sold his dad’s honeycomb for 20 cents. When his dad found out, he hollered because they were supposed to sell for 25 cents.”

Mrs. Truax recalled another tale she thought might “spark a memory” for some of her husband’s boyhood friends. Mr. Truax was a member of 4-H, and his leader decided to take the group to the Altamont Fair, she recounted, to exhibit their produce.

“Harold was not a gardener so he went to his father’s tomato patch and picked out a tomato,” said Mrs. Truax. “Upon seeing it, the leader was disgusted and told Harold to get in the car while he went and picked out another tomato. The tomato won second prize!” she exclaimed.

Mrs. Truax met the man who would become her husband on a blind date. She worked for a telephone company; he was a mechanic.

“We hit it off right away,” Mrs. Truax said, recalling their first date at the old Shell gas station. “It was a mom-and-pop place on Route 20 and we got cheeseburgers,” said Mrs. Truax. Afterwards, they went bowling. The couple were married 63 years in May.

“He was a good father,” said Mrs. Truax. The Truaxes raised three sons in Guilderland. “He was not a hard taskmaster…We went camping and, when he got home from work, he took us out for rides and we’d get ice cream.”

A talented craftsman, Mr. Truax built his family’s home.

“Harold was a kind and humble man known for a friendly smile and his constant hard work,” his family wrote in a tribute. “He always put his family first at all times and at any sacrifice…His family loved him and will miss him dearly and look forward to rejoining him in Heaven.”

“He always had a smile,” said his wife. She chose the picture to run with his obituary, showing him with some of the Hess trucks he collected, because it captured his smile. Despite his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Mrs. Truax said through tears, her husband would smile as best he could.


Harold Frederick Truax is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joanna (née Guresz) Truax; by his sons, Thomas Truax and his wife, Paula, and Richard Truax and his wife, Svea; and by his grandchildren, Elle and Connor Truax.

He is also survived by several nieces and nephews; three sisters-in-law; and one brother-in-law.

His parents died before him, as did his son, William Truax, and his sisters, Kathryn Otten and Geraldine Smith.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Madeleine Sophie Church in Guilderland, with arrangements by New Comer Cannon Funeral Home in Colonie, and interment in the Gallupville Rural Cemetery in Gallupville.

Mourners may leave messages online at www.NewComerAlbany.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Peter’s ALS Regional Center, 19 Warehouse Row, Albany, NY  12205.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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