• Deirdre McCrohan

Paul Trudell was member of local land-use group, active in community


Paul Robert Trudell, a longtime Tiburon Peninsula resident who served a stint on the Strawberry Area Community Council and was active in several other community groups, died Jan. 17 after a long battle with cancer. He was 84.


In 1971, well before Mr. Trudell’s Rancho Drive neighborhood was annexed to the town of Tiburon and was part of Strawberry in unincorporated Mill Valley, he was named to the Strawberry council, a quasi-public group that formed to represent Strawberry’s interests on land-use matters. It formed amid Tiburon’s attempt to annex Strawberry and surrounding unincorporated areas and then played a vital role in developing 1973’s Strawberry Community Plan.


He spent his 33-year legal career as an assistant public defender for the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office. A committed advocate of restorative justice, he kept in touch with former clients and, in many instances, helped them find jobs as they transitioned back into their communities. He continued to mentor former clients in retirement and made his last court appearance to advocate on behalf of a rehabilitated client in September.


Mr. Trudell ran unsuccessfully for Marin district attorney in 1978, as well as for Tiburon Town Council in 2001 against incumbents Tom Gram and Harry Matthews and challengers Valerie Bergmann and Katie Vogelheim. Gram and Matthews won.


Born Sept. 2, 1937, in San Diego to Bertha Lackey Trudell and Paul Robert Trudell Sr., Mr. Trudell attended St. Augustine High School, where he was on the football team. After graduating in 1955, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet CVS-12. Later, he helped preserve the Hornet and, when it became a museum in Alameda, he led on-board tours dressed in his seaman’s uniform.


He and his wife, Mary, were married in 1959. While still in the Navy, he took courses at the University of San Diego. He transferred to the University of San Francisco, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1961, a law degree in 1965 and a master’s degree in business administration in business psychology in 1972. He received a master of laws degree in psychiatry and law from the University of California Boalt Hall Law School in 1976 and, the same year, received a master’s degree in administration in federal taxation from Golden Gate University. Over the years, he took many more specialty courses in law.


While in school, Mr. Trudell supported his growing family — which would eventually include five children with Mary — by working as a carpenter part-time during the school year and full-time in the summer. He rarely missed a meeting of Local 22 of the Carpenters Union.


The couple lived in San Francisco when they were first married and moved to their Rancho Drive neighborhood in 1964, becoming Tiburon residents in 1998 after the annexation of their neighborhood and that of the new Cypress Hollow subdivision to the town.


At St. Hilary’s Catholic Church, where he and his wife had been parishioners for 58 years, he was active in the St. Hilary’s Men’s Group and was a member of the Thomas More Society.


He was a Boy Scout leader for Troop 48 and president of the Strawberry Swim Club when his children were young, and also coached Little League based at the Strawberry Recreation District playing field.


Mr. Trudell was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Parents Club, as well as the Rotary Club of Oakland and the Berkeley Breakfast Club.


In retirement, he managed his real estate interests, doing much of the repair work on houses himself. He enjoyed country-western dancing, motorcycle riding with his wife and spending time with his family.


In addition to Mary Trudell, Mr. Trudell is survived by the couple’s five children: Ruth Hunter of Castro Valley, Kathleen Pincus of Orange, Susie Trudell of Novato, Tricia Samora of San Diego and P.J. Trudell of Norfolk, Va.,; a brother, George Trudell of San Diego; two sisters, Bertha Popeney of La Mesa and Margie Morrison of San Diego; 13 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. His sister Rita Trudell and brother John Trudell predeceased him.


A funeral mass was held Jan. 29 at St. Hilary. The burial will be held at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego. Donations can be made to the Holy Sisters at the Carmelite Monastery of Cristo Rey, 721 Parker Ave., San Francisco, CA 94118-4227.


Reach Tiburon reporter Deirdre McCrohan at 415-944-4634.

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