Guerdon Saltonstall Trueblood Sr., 87, of Washington Island, Wisconsin and Melrose, Florida, passed away peacefully at his residence on Washington Island on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
He was born November 2, 1933 in San Jose, Costa Rica, son of the late Edward Gatewood and Elizabeth Mitchell Trueblood. When Guerdon was eight, he and his sister, Felicity, moved to Alexandria, Virginia to live with their grandparents, Franklin Korell and Caroline (Stoddard) (Mitchell) Korell. Guerdon was inspired by his late grandfather, General Billy Mitchell, and he enlisted in the United States Navy after graduating from high school. He proudly served his country as a sonar technician for four years until his honorable discharge in 1954. He then attended George Washington University on the GI Bill, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in speech and drama and his master’s degree. After graduating from college, Guerdon moved to France. In France, he met his future wife, Anne-Marie Vaughan Read, and the two were wed in Leicester, England in 1964.
Guerdon built a house in Provence, where he raised two boys with Anna and wrote at night. They moved to Hollywood in 1969 after he sold the script for the first CBS movie of the week “Sole Survivor”. He subsequently wrote scripts for TV shows such as, "Adam-12," and "The Streets of San Francisco”. He wrote numerous scripts for TV movies of the week: “Family Flight”, “The Savage Bees”, “It Happened at Lakewood Manor”, "Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo”, and “Terror Out of the Sky”. He followed with screenplays for features such as the Vietnam veteran’s exploitation film "Welcome Home, Soldier Boys" and the gritty Western "The Last Hard Men” (of which his was also an associate producer) and wrote the original screenplay for “Jaws 3”.
Guerdon moved into independent film making, where as a director he enlisted his wife, Anna, who did costume and makeup, his college friend Vincent Martorano, headlining, and his son, Christopher, as an autistic child, in the cult movie “The Candy Snatchers.”
He spoke fluent Spanish, French, and Italian and played the piano and mandolin. It comes as no surprise that he enjoyed writing, storytelling, and entertaining those around him. He was a member of The Writers and Directors guilds of America and was a proud union card holder.
Aside from his professional career as a screenwriter, Guerdon became a private pilot in 1975, fulfilling part of his childhood dream to be a combat aviator. Guerdon always craved a simpler life, which brought him and Anna (after the birth of their daughter), to the longtime family home of Washington Island, Wisconsin, where he moved his family from Los Angeles in the late 1970s. It reminded Anna of England, and they raised horses for two decades and enjoyed boating and fishing on Lake Michigan. Guerdon continued his passion of writing and storytelling on the Island and went on to self-publish two books, the bodice-ripper “Moonwillow Rose” and the well-researched novel on American aviators in the Spanish Civil war, “Long Live Death”. He was working on another based on the Battle of Guadalcanal.
He flew his family every summer from LA to Washington Island in a restored 1939 Stinson V77 Gullwing. In subsequent years he rebuilt a North American AT6/SNJ which he flew as a formation pilot in the Condor Squadron Civil Air Patrol out of Van Nuys, as well as a 1938 Grumman N3N biplane in which he and Anna toured the country in their prime.
Guerdon is survived by his children, Guerdon Trueblood Jr. and partner, Billie High of Petaluma, CA, Christopher Trueblood of Algoma, WI, and Alexandra Trueblood and partner, John McGinnis of Vista, CA; twin granddaughters, Elizabeth and Diana Trueblood of Petaluma; sister, Felicity Trueblood of Melrose, FL; half-sisters, Cynthia Trueblood and Sandra Trueblood Montoya Roberts; and beloved feline, Zoe.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Elizabeth Trueblood and wife, Anna Trueblood.
In honor of his wishes, no formal services will be held.
Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Sister Bay, Wisconsin is assisting the Trueblood family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Guerdon may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.
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