Walter ‘Wally’ Henry Trumbull passed away in his home in Santa Monica surrounded by his family on December 11, 2021 at the age of 96. We are all so grateful to have had so much time with him and for his generous and positive spirit. He was born in Boston and grew up in Weston, MA, and returned regularly to the East Coast to visit. He loved family and friends deeply and his favorite places: Santa Monica, Marion, Mattapoisett, Mountain Lake, Maui, Rosarito Beach, Pietrasanta, and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. It was a challenge keeping up with him! He always had a trip planned and someone to see.
He was passionate about the company/ies he started and ran for over fifty-seven years, Electro-Mech Components and Switch-Luz. They were his beloved other family. Wally leaves a legacy to the ‘maquiladora’ sector as one of the forerunners of the export industry in Mexico.
An athlete as a young man, he played football and ice hockey for Middlesex and Harvard, and later ice hockey for the University of Geneva. He was a good tennis player and taught all his children the game. He remained fit until he died: “onwards and upwards.” He was inducted into the Middlesex Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
Wally entered Harvard University in 1942. His studies were interrupted by his time spent serving as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After the war, Wally returned to Harvard and completed his undergraduate degree in 1946.
After returning from Geneva he matriculated at the Harvard School of Business 1947-1949. Upon graduation, he worked for the Gillette Company in Boston in its razor blade division. It was during that time he visited Gillette manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico that he learned of the advantages of offshore manufacturing that he would develop later on in Tijuana, Mexico.
Wally and Betsey had their three older children in Boston, then moved to Santa Monica in 1956 where the three younger children were born. They both later commented that it was a big move to California, but ultimately a wise move. Wally continued working at Gillette until the early 1960’s then struck off on his own with several startups: Transformer Engineers, Pendar Company, and ultimately Electro-Mech and Switch-Luz.
His first wife Betsey predeceased him and he leaves six children: Lea Trumbull Ferris and her husband Bill and children Ben, Willea and Jojo and their families; Hope Trumbull Woodhead and her husband George and children Robert, Janet, Vern and Walt and their families; Margaret Trumbull Nash and her husband Michael; Robin Trumbull Tolan and her husband John and their children Liz, Jack and Maggie and their families; Terry Trumbull and his wife Valerie and their children Ginny and Hank; Coco Trumbull Mueller and her husband Kirk and their children Paige and Will, and their families. He has taught ten great-grandchildren how to play backgammon. He leaves his wife, Helen (Lenkie), and her children Leigh, Mac (deceased), Eliza (deceased), Don, Peter, and their families. He believed deeply in education and came from a long-line of educators. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Middlesex School in honor of Wally Trumbull ‘42 (1400 Lowell Road, Concord, MA 01742; https://www.mxschool.edu/alumni/make-a-gift/) Celebration(s) of Life will be scheduled both in California and Massachusetts at a later date.