Trueman Place, 85, Was Vineyard Airport Manager

Lieut. Commander Trueman Albert Place, 85, a retired member of the U.S. Naval Reserve and the former manager of the Martha's Vineyard Airport, died Oct. 30.

He was born in Providence, R.I., son of William and Vivian Huse Place, well-known New England musicians.

He was raised and schooled in Cranston, R.I. In 1938, he entered the music business, and later formed his own swing band.

In May 1942, he enlisted in the Naval Aviation Training Program as a seaman 2nd class. After receiving his commission and wings at Pensacola, he completed the advanced Fighter Pilot course and was ordered to the Pacific Fleet, where he joined Fighting Squadron One in September 1943.

In the two years following, True completed two tours of duty on the aircraft carrier Yorktown (now a memorial in Charlestown, S.C.). His military action commenced at Tarawa and ended in Tokyo Bay after the Japanese surrendered.

For his many air victories against the enemy, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, seven Air Medals, two Presidential Unit Citations and several other medals and citations. In 1951, True entered the Navy Reserve, flying prop and jet fighters until his naval retirement in 1980.

In 1947, he met and married his wife, Jan. Two years later, they moved to Martha's Vineyard, True's boyhood summer home, where he served as assistant county treasurer and special deputy sheriff.

In 1957, he was appointed airport manager of the Martha's Vineyard County Airport, a position he held until his retirement in December 1980.

For more than 23 years, with the support of the Dukes County commissioners, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Massachusetts Airport Commission, True initiated numerous airport improvements.

Upon True's retirement, the FAA's "Certificate of Appreciation stated:

"During his tenure, Mr. Place contributed substantially to the effective development of the airport as a recognized portal to a vacation paradise and an integral part of the National Air Transportation System. By continually employing a combination of mainland diplomacy and Vineyard shrewdness, he established the Martha's Vineyard Airport as a pivotal link to all aspects of the Vineyard's economy. Additionally, by actively cooperating with airport customers and the FAA, he greatly facilitated the establishment of a permanent air traffic control tower at the Martha's Vineyard Airport."

True was involved in many fraternal, religious and community organizations.

His positions included Past Master of Oriental Lodge AF&AM, Thirty-Second Degree Mason, Shriner, member of Eastern Star, warden and treasurer of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, past president of the Martha's Vineyard Lion's Club, treasurer of the Martha's Vineyard Red Cross, secretary/treasurer of Massachusetts Airport Managers' Association, commercial pilot, FAA supplementary weather observer, member of the Edgartown Yacht Club and Musicians' Union, and Realtor in both Massachusetts and Florida.

Survivors include his loving wife, Jan, after 59 years of marriage; daughter Cynthia Susan Keal and her husband David; son Stephen Choate Place and his wife Carole; two granddaughters, Meredith and Stephanie Place; two grandsons, Todd and Adam Smith; and a great-granddaughter, Samantha Smith.

A Masonic service will be held at the family gravesite in Oak Grove Cemetery on Martha's Vineyard at a later date.

Memorials in Trueman's name may be donated to the Hospice of Naples, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105.