PRO MOD OWNER, DRAG RACING FRIEND PAUL TRUSSELL PASSES
Paul Trussell left an indelible mark on those he befriended.
Trussell, 72, of Irmo, South Carolina, died on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, after a heroic battle with cancer.
To know Paul Trussell was to have spent time learning his life's lessons and infatuation with all things automobile. He loved both life and cars with a passion.
Trussell was the kind of person who thrived on picking up the spirits of those in his inner circle.
Trussell was a brick and mortar kind of person; a man who studied engineering at Tennessee Tech University and put his education to good use, joining his brother in the formation of the successful Trussell Brothers construction firm. He was old school business which was sealed primarily with a man's word and a handshake.
Trussell was a man who led by example, who enjoyed running his equipment and working onsite with his crews.
He was a fan of the underdog and often aligned himself with those who had merely fought with passion, and was nearly at rope's end. He was always willing to help those in need.
He loved all things all things fast with wheels, and his experience included a D/Modified Production entry in the early 1970s and hitting 187 mph on the backstretch at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway in a 1996 Dodge Viper GTS.
His first foray into drag racing was with veteran Pro Mod racer Ed Hoover. As long as Trussell raced, Hoover was the only driver he'd have behind the wheel of his car.
Within two seasons Trussell and Hoover finished second in the championship point standings and won 12 national events in both IHRA and NHRA sanctioned events.
John Waldie, a successful Canadian businessman and one of those behind-the-scenes entities, described Trussell as the real deal.
"He was the ultimate everyday guy, the most down-to-earth guy you could meet," Waldie described. "Every time his car raced, he was there with it. He didn't live life as a flashy person, but he lived life to the fullest. When he had success, he was the kind who didn't mind sharing it."
Trussell was a major fan of CompetitionPlus.com and lent a helping hand in the early years of the publication. He was one of the family, so to speak, even though he never wrote an article.
Trussell's passion for cars can be traced back to when he turned 12 years old, a 1932 Ford five-window coupe, a car he owned until the day he passed.
The avid car collector had many national show winning street rods, pro street and sports cars. His prized '32 Ford roadster was voted America's Most Beautiful Roadster. He even had an award-winning bagger Harley-Davidson.
As much as he loved his cars, he loved his family more. He leaves behind wife Peggy, and sons Tony and Mickey, and four grandchildren.
Trussell wasn't hard to spot at the races with his constant smile wrapped around an unlit cigar which proved to be a centerpiece of his infectious personality.
Though Trussell pulled back from drag racing about five years ago, he never lost his love for the straight-line sport.
In the end, Waldie probably summed it up the best.
"In this life, we have people who come and go, but I promise you there will never be another Paul Trussell."
Paul will be laid to rest on Saturday, July 1. Family and friends will meet at Temples Halloran Funeral Home Chapel at 10 AM. Funeral is scheduled at 11 AM.
Temples Halloran Funeral Home Chapel is located at 5400 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to South Carolina American Cancer Society.