Harry Randall Truman

Harry Randall Truman

Harry Randall Truman (October 30, 1896 – May 18, 1980) came to brief fame as a resident of the U.S. state of Washington who lived near Mount St. Helens and died in its 1980 eruption after stubbornly refusing to leave. He was the owner of Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake (not Spirit Lake Lodge as is sometimes reported). The lodge was located at the foot of the mountain, and was in the danger zone at the time of the eruption.

He was born in Wise, Virginia, but was a resident of Chehalis, Washington. Truman joined the U.S. Navy and served in World War I and survived the torpedoing of the "Tuscania" in February 1918 off the coast of Ireland.

He became a minor celebrity during the two months of volcanic activity preceding the eruption, giving interviews to reporters and expressing his opinion that the danger from the volcano was "overexaggerated". Truman shrugged off all concerns about the volcano and his situation, at one point stating, "If the mountain goes, I'm going with it." Indeed, he died in the blast, along with 56 other people, and his body was never found. He died at the age of 83. The site of his former lodge is buried under 150 feet of volcanic landslide debris, beneath the much raised bed of Spirit Lake.

He was the subject of the book "Truman of St. Helens: The Man & His Mountain" by Shirley Rosen [cite book |last = Rosen |first = Shirley |title = Truman of St. Helens: The Man & His Mountain |publisher = Seattle : Madrona Publishers ; Longview : Longview Pub. Co. |date = 1981 |pages= 163 pp |isbn = 0914842579] and was portrayed by Art Carney in the 1981 docu-drama film "St. Helens". [cite web| url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083117| title=St. Helens| publisher=IMDB| accessdate=2008-03-08] He is the subject of the song "Harry Truman" written and recorded by Irish band Headgear, which features the refrain, "You can move the mountain but I'm never coming down". The modern day Truman Trail and Harry's Ridge in the Mount St. Helens region are named after him.


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