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By Robert Connors
Managing Editor 

Drew Truitt's Passing Left Community Shocked


Last updated 12/5/2023 at 9:03pm

Courtesy Rotary on the Ridge

Drew Truitt, 67, passed suddenly, leaving many in the community shocked and saddened.

Hundreds in Lake Wales were left stunned and saddened recently by the sudden passing of Drew Truitt, a community volunteer described by one friend as a "social instigator."

Truitt, 67, had celebrated his birthday only days earlier at a meeting of Rotary on the Ridge, which was one of several avenues for his enthusiasm and willingness to help.

Truitt had been named Rotarian of the Year in 2018-19 largely due to his contagious enthusiasm for volunteer projects and his ever-present willingness to help. He was often seen around town promoting volunteer projects including the "Josh the Otter" effort to teach children water safety skills.

Only days before his death Truitt had cooked hundreds of pancakes for patrons of the Rotary Club's first Pancake Day breakfast fundraiser.

"It breaks my heart," said Rotary District Governor-elect Chevon Baccus. "He was one of my favorite people in the whole world, so full of joy and enthusiasm. I can't imagine a world without him."

Truitt worked at local Medical marijuana laboratory Grow Healthy, where some of his co-workers broke down in tears when they learned he had died in his sleep. Employees organized a memorial service, held on the shores of Lake Wailes near his home. Grow Healthy management cited his "vibrant personality and particularly his tie-dyed shirts...brought joy...and brightened our workplace. His energy was contagious."

Graphic artist Caley Curchy called Truitt "a light in this little community."

An irrepressible entrepreneur, Truitt managed several different business initiatives in addition to his full-time work at Grow Healthy. Among his enterprises were a screen-printing operation in partnership with local artist John Fehling.

"I was shocked," Fehling said. "Drew was a great guy, he really was." Fehling called him "a wonderful person, very loving and funny."

"I loved him, he was a good guy. I'm going to miss him," Fehling added.

Truitt had another sideline selling rare and classic automobiles online, an effort that brought him fans and followers across the country. "He was always looking for avenues of making money," Fehling said.

Courtesy Chevon Baccus

Truitt was an active volunteer, helping to organize community events and presentations to schools.

"He was an amazing guy," said Alick Gerrard, who Truitt had recruited to his team at Grow Healthy. "I really loved his, he was probably the nicest person I know." Drew was also working to promote Gerrard's musical talents to a local market. "He was always looking for an angle to make money in things he enjoyed," Gerrard said.

Born Andrew Paul Truitt in Peoria, Illinois, he was a 1974 graduate of Chillicothe High School and held a degree in business management from the University of South Florida. He married Linda Sarayusa Truitt in 1982 in Venice, Florida.

Andrew was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Jane Ingles Truitt, and one brother, Lawrence James Truitt. He is survived by his wife, Linda, brother Henry (Betty) Truitt of Chillicothe, Illinois, Linda's sons Bosk Halisey and Forest Halisey (Patty), and Linda's grandsons Michael and Robert Halisey.

A private memorial service will be held at a date to be determined.


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