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Reginald Truitt


Reginald Van Trump Truitt, founder of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and a pioneer in the systematic study of the bay, died Thursday of pneumonia at Memorial Hospital in Easton.

Services for Dr. Truitt, who was 100 and lived on Kent Island, were being held today at Christ Episcopal Church in Cambridge.

He began the laboratory in 1919 in a shack on Solomons Island, at first financing the work himself with help from the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and the Maryland Conservation Commission. He retired in 1954 as its director.

He also retired in 1954 as director of the state Department of Research and Education under the Board of Natural Resources, which he helped start. The laboratory is now part of the University of Maryland.

Dr. Truitt began teaching in 1918 at the university, of which he was a graduate, and resigned as professor of aquaculture and zoology in 1943 to devote full time to the laboratory.

A native of Snow Hill whose family had been in the business of planting oysters in Chincoteague Bay, Dr. Truitt's interest in the Chesapeake and its residents helped him win many honors, including the 1981 Rachel Carson Award from the state and his inclusion in a group of "150 People Who Shaped the Way We Live" in a 1987 issue of the Sunday Sun magazine that celebrated the 150th anniversary of The Sun.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Mary Virginia Harrington; two daughters, Virginia T. Sherr of Holland, Pa., and Gertrude T. Guthrie of Kent Island; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

The family suggested that contributions be made to the Truitt Memorial Fund, which grants scholarships for students of the marine sciences at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.

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