Dr. Ralph Truitt, 90, of Turlock, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to missionary parents, Earnest and Bertha. His parents’ godly example led Ralph to choose a career as a medical doctor and to actively lead his family, serve his church, perform missionary service, and serve many families in the community.
A very bright young man, Ralph graduated from Loma Linda University Medical School at age 23. His internship and internal medicine was completed at White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, a hospital founded by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Three weeks after completing medical school he married the love of his life, Norma “Joyce” Pote. After serving two years in the Army, Ralph completed his medical board requirements and, in 1950, he joined the staff of Turlock Medical Clinic, where he served the families of Turlock first as a corporate partner and doctor of internal medicine and later as a cardiologist until his retirement in 2001.
Dr. Truitt was the first internal medicine board physician in Turlock, and the first charter member of the Stanislaus County Heart Association. He officiated the first pacemaker surgery in this area with Dr. George Paullus and phone instructions from Dr. Norman Shumway. He diagnosed, treated and referred the first heart transplant patient in Stanislaus County; he personally commuted monthly to Stanford to aide and educate the medical doctors and nurses of Turlock in order to assure the latest and best medical practices for our area. He also was a vital part of the development and establishing of the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at Emanuel Medical Center and later the opening of the new CCU and emergency departments which opened in 2007. In addition, Dr. Truitt volunteered in campaigns through Legacy Circle and personally helped raise over $300,000 for the Emanuel Hospital Legacy Circle.
In addition to his storied medical career, Dr. and Mrs. (Joyce) Truitt have been active leaders in their church. He has served as an elder, Bible Teacher, Men’s Support Group Leader in both the Turlock and Ceres Seventh Day Adventist Churches and board chairman of the Modesto Adventist Academy for several years. Ralph and Joyce spent five years in medical missionary service from 1957-1962 in Bankgkok Sanitarium in Thailand, a highlight of their lives.
He enjoyed gardening as a hobby and beautified the church landscaping, as well as his home, to provide a celebrative welcome to those places. In addition, Dr. and Mrs. Truitt travelled to or lived in every continent and all 50 states. He had no regrets for his active life and career. He could say like the Apostle Paul to Timothy, “I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.”
Dr. Truitt was preceded in death by son, Mark Steven Truitt in 1973. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Norma “Joyce” Truitt; children, Richard (Marilynn) Truitt of Riverside, Ardeth Mattison of Turlock and Barbara (Dr. Edward) Holm of Turlock; six grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.
Visitation for Dr. Truitt will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 5 at Allen Mortuary. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 6 at the Turlock Adventist Church. A private burial will be held at Lakewood Cemetery.
Memorials for Dr. Truitt are encouraged for the Legacy Circle Heart Center of Emanuel Medical Center, the Loma Linda University Medical School for scholarships, or the charity of your choice.
Please leave memories and condolences at www.allenmortuary.com.