Merrill Peckham Budlong
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BUDLONG, MERRILL, PECKHAM, age 95, formerly of Marcy Street in Cranston died Saturday, July 21 at the St. Antoine Residence in North Smithfield, RI after a long illness. He was a retired CPA, insurance agent, and owner of Budlong Marine Radio in Pawtuxet Village.

He was husband of the late Louise (Johnson) Budlong and son of the late Frank R. and Ruth (Peckham) Budlong. Born in Arlington, New Jersey, May 21, 1912, he was a resident of Rhode Island from the age of two, and of the Edgewood section of Cranston since 1918.

He leaves a daughter, Merilyn B. Trocino of Vancouver, Washington; sons Merrill P. Budlong, Jr. of State College, Pennsylvania, and Carl J. Budlong of Gualala, California; four grandchildren, Thomas A. Trocino of Marysville, Washington; Frank M. Trocino of Pasadena, California; Dana T. Barron of Vancouver, Washington; and Richard B. Trocino of Austin, Texas; six great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He was brother of the late Frank R. Budlong Jr., the late Ruth B. Meader, and the late Marcia B. Tourgee.

An active, athletic man, as a teenager Mr. Budlong made his own surfboards and sailing kayaks. In high school and college he was on the wrestling teams, played trumpet in dance bands, and was a lifeguard at Bonnet Shores. He graduated from Cranston High School in 1931 and from the University of Rhode Island in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in business. He was a member of Phi Mu Delta fraternity and Phi Kappa Phi honor society. During World War II, he held a second job at Kaiser Shipyard in Providence. As an avid amateur radio operator (call letters W1MB) and proficient Morse Code operator, he enjoyed contacting radio hams throughout the world. He founded the Fidelity Amateur Radio Club, which met for more than thirty years at his home. He was a Major in the R.I. Civil Air Patrol and a director of the New England Wireless and Steam Museum. Mr. Budlong was an alumnus of Fidelity Chapter DeMolay in which he was a Chevalier. He was a member of the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen and, into his 70s, participated in bicycle races and 100-mile rides. He was often seen riding his bicycle around Edgewood and Pawtuxet Village. He was a pioneer skin diving and spear fishing enthusiast. In the 1940s he built much of his own equipment before it was commercially available. In 1964 he speared a ten foot great white shark in Narragansett Bay. He was also a frostbite sailor, member of the Edgewood Yacht Club, and member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

A memorial service will be held at a time and place to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the New England Wireless and Steam Museum, 1300 Frenchtown Road, East Greenwich, RI 02818.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Providence Journal on Jul. 23, 2007.
Memories & Condolences
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25 entries
August 24, 2007
Merril was a good friend and father figure to me and will be missed. As a teenager in the 50's my car would be heading to the W1QLD home on Marcy St many evenings.

He ran the Civil Air Patrol radio net and would put me in as net control operator for the experience.I remember operating him cross band (CAP to 2 Meter) when I was 2 meter moble and he was Little Rohdy CAP moble. He helped me bulid my 1st 2 meter rig (2E26 )... he will be missed ... 73's de W1WUH
Richard Olsen
August 15, 2007
Merrill was a great man who generously gave the use of his home for FARC meetings. He als gave his time to help his many friends at FARC learn the ropes of ham radio.

Merrill inspired many of us to enter technical fields. He was a sage to many. He certainly made a difference in my life!
Mark Earley, P.E.
August 8, 2007
In the late 1960's my father Earl Cowan and his friend Marty Shaw belonged to Merrill's radio club and I started to attend. We had met Merrill through his nephew Steve Budlong. Well, my attendance at radio club was something of an anomaly being that I was (and am:o) a female. I got my novice ham license and was allowed to join the club. It was a great pastime. I met so many great people there.

The last time I saw him was about five years ago with Lori and Steve. We had a very enjoyable visit. Merrill was such a wonderful gentleman and mentor to so many. He was wise and funny and patient. I am grateful to have known him. The world is less without him.
Jean (Cowan) Younis
August 8, 2007
My Uncle "Grandpa" Merrill,

When I was quite a young child I lost my grandfather Rhody (Merrill's brother), and had never known my grandmother Maude. Merrill took me aside shortly after Rhody's funeral, told me that I needed a "Budlong" grandfather and that he was the man for the job. Every time he or Louise would call and every card that I received was from Grandpa Merrill and Grandma Lou.
I am so grateful for the kindness and love that they shared with me and my Dad (Steve Budlong). I know my Dad would tell you too, that we are both better Budlongs because of it.

much love,
Lori (Budlong) Glockner
August 1, 2007
Grandpa Budlong was the perfect grandfather for a kid growing up. He and Grandma Louise lived in this huge Rhode Island house steeped in family history. He had a basement that was home to all sorts of dazzling electronics—ham radio equipment that enabled him to communicate with people as far away as Russia. He knew Morse Code. In his basement there were trophies, ancient photographs, and his bikes. As far as I was concerned, he invented cycling. He made his own wheels and rode for hundreds of miles at a time. He sailed Narragansett Bay, kayaked in the ocean, and was a skin diver. He built radios from scratch, survived hurricanes, and killed a great white shark with a spear gun. A black and white photograph of him and his shark hung in silent glory in his basement.

Grandma Louise told me he can “fix anything but a broken heart and the break of day.” He could fix a TV with a well place slap, cook a hamburger with a sheet of newspaper, and win at three-dimensional tick-tac-toe on the last marble. He was smart, focused, and independent. He lived life on his own terms. To a grandson, he was the stuff legends are made of.

In the early days of the Internet, Grandpa was my first email pen pal. We would communicate every couple of days—me with my home-made PC and he with his Commodore 64. We would chat about bikes, ham radios, and computers. As the years caught up and his mind began to fail, his voice slowly faded from the ether until he eventually fell silent.

To this day, I think of him when I hop on my mountain bike or take my daughters to the water. I see him in the mirror, feel him when I read history, and hear him when my daughter fixes the TV with a well placed slap—something she figured out on her own.

Richard Budlong Trocino
Richard Trocino
July 29, 2007
I knew the Budlong family because of Mr. Budlong's relationship with my Dad, Stuart Fuller who was also a ham radio fan. We lived around the corner on Armington Street during the l950s and moved to California when my Dad passed away in 1959. I am so sorry to know he has passed away but also glad to know what a full life he lived. He counseled me when I received a "transistor" radio for my birthday. He gave me great tips on how to care for it and because of him, I had it for many years. I was a friend of Carl Budlong (we knew him as "Johnny") and after almost 50 years I still think of the Budlong family when I see a ham license plate on the road. My sympathy to you all, I remember him as a very kind and patient man.
Nancy Primmer (nee Fuller)
July 29, 2007
rest in peace cousin, a life well lived.
gary budlong
July 29, 2007
I was encouged by others to post this in response to Bud Budlong:

Hello Bud:

Thank you for the kind words about your Dad. That means a lot to me. Now that I think back on it, I really did love him for being such a great man. I had a difficult time with my own father and Merrill was a father I did not have. He filled in as a role model. My mother worships the ground your Dad walked on. As you well know he had his little quirks like all men do but he had such an uplifting spirit. I remember so well his teachings of electronics... and I quote him .... "If you haven't blown up something recently you haven't learned anything." Merrill touched so many young lives in their tender years with his patience, courtesy, kindness and love and and oh yes, firmness but a measured firmness because after all, we were just kids anyway that needed the self discipline that your father taught so well. I so fondly remember those days at 31 Marcy Street every Wednesday evening when the Fidelity Amateur Radio Club met in his cozy basement. I remember his immaculate "ham shack" layout of wonderful radios. Many an hour I spent making ham radio contacts with his wonderful ham station, on voice and Morse Code. Merrill was such a great Morse Code teacher and he would leave his low frequency radio on WCC to catch the weather and Marine traffic on Morse. I would sit by him and he taught me how to copy it in my head without writing it down. I can still read Morse code at high speed in my head due to his teaching to this day. I remember his work shop and I can still smell that special smell of electronics. I remember the Saturdays I would spend with him building a power supply for a new radio I bought. I remember spending the night on that little bunk under the little blackboard that he used to teach Ohm's Law to us. Your mother Louise was so kind and I remember having hamburgers with both of them in the kitchen as a break from toiling below on some radio project with him. I seem to remember somehow your Dad's fondness for peanut butter and onions on hamburgers. He was a special guy no doubt. I first met your Dad in 1967 as a new ham radio operator. I was 17. The day I met him he and the boys were getting ready for the Amateur Radio Field Day down in Appannoug, unwinding antennas in the driveway and getting the great military tent he was making ready. I remember him making breakfast for us by the tent down there in the early morning after we spent all night pounding the brass. I have a picture of him somewhere doing that which I shall have to retrieve soon. Understand that during those times it was very stressful for a teenager. The next year I was actually president of FARC for a "term". It was 1968, "The Days of Rage" . VietNam was raging and your Dad knew it. He knew he had young souls to save and he stepped up to the bar to do it. And he did do it. All the young lads I remember so well, Kenny Tata, Frank Carroll, Carl Wheery, so many more. All went off in different directions, He pushed me through college and my future career as an electrical engineer. It was a long hard road after that. Time by time, little by little his spirit pushed me on. I just kept on pushing up the ladder. A high tech company here, another one there, a few start-ups, consulting etc. A lot of ground covered. But all the time his memory. His memory and encouragement to success always with me, always with me. I met your Dad over 40 years ago. And I am still an EE with even a Space Shuttle Payload I designed for STS-39 Discovery in May of 1991. When that bird lifted off the pad which I was there to witness I thought of your father. It was HIS spirit that rocketed into the heavens by God's Grace. Very few men in life come along in their special time to make a difference. Your Dad was special and most extraordinary. His kind are most rare. May I comfort you in your loss but understand, his kind don't come down the pike that often. He lived a very full and wonderful rich and giving life and his legacy lives on. Your Dad was a very great man.

Keep in Touch


PS: Sadly, previous commitments on our part for his memorial service at the Wireless and Steam Museum keep my wife and I from attending. We will be in Vermont that weekend. However, tell Bob Meriam I have an old spark gap from Europe that I intend to donate to the Museum in Merrill's name. I already had an old Murdock Coil my grandfather gave me which I donated during my FARC times which Bob still has there.
Dana Tremblay
July 28, 2007
Merrill was a good friend to my father Jack (original W1EOF). As such he was often around our house or talking with my Dad on the radio or telephone. He always had a smile and a word of encouragement for me, a teenage radio ham. He was always an inspiration as someone who obviously lived his life to it's fullest, and shared so much with so many people. Merrill never knew the number of people he touched in a deep way. Many will feel the loss but to me this is not goodbye but rather "See you a little bit down the log OM".

My condolences to the entire Budlong family along with my deepest thanks for sharing Merrill with the rest of us for so many years.

Mark W1EOF
North Kingstown, RI
Mark Titterington
July 26, 2007
About 36 years ago, my son Gary,and I joined the FARC. Merrell's home was the foundation for the technical direction which put him on a good path in life. Ham radio opened many doors for us as the years went on. Then one day when Merrell's meeting room down stairs was being desolved, I was one of the few selected to assemble all things which were to be sold off to raise money for the club. A very sad day that was and we continued with a positive outlook to keep the club alive. A memory never forgotten.K1GK Gary & WA1QKJ Tom Kozinski.
Thomas G. Kozinski
July 26, 2007
Thomas G. Kozinski
July 24, 2007
I appreciate having known Merrill and I enjoyed his company when we spent some time together as neighbors. I feel honored to have known him. To his family, my condolences.
Steve S
July 24, 2007
Mr Budlong helped me, as a young man, spark my interest in amateur radio. I can only say that my amateur radio license has helped me obtain more jobs than any other hobby ever could have.

I remember visiting with Mr Budlong when I was 13 (the same year I earned my ticket) I remember the shack in his basement ran across the entire length of the house. Much of his equipment was open so he could work on it without having to take the cover off and all of it was state of the art. The air in the shack fairly crackled with a mix electricity, excitement and anticipation.

My deepest sympathies for your loss. Mr. Budlong made a lasting impression on this ham.
Jim Ellis, KA1MAN
July 24, 2007
Merrill was the kindest, loving, firm, courtly, most giving gentleman I ever met. His bio reads like Hemmingway. He truely changed my life forever when I was a member of the Fidelity Amateur Radio Club in the late 60s. He bequeathed to me my future career as an electrical engineer of which I am to this day. So many fond memories of the days I spent with him learning radio. Rest In Peace Merrill, your memory lives on for all the great work you did.

Dana Tremblay WA1HUM
Londonderry, NH
Dana Tremblay
July 23, 2007
Merrill Gave me my start in ham radio back in 1964 of which I am still involved. He will be missed.
Bob, K1WYC
Robert DiPippo
July 23, 2007
A letter to the editor, Narragansett Bay Wheelmen

Hi Monica, just a short note to let you know of Merrill Budlong's passing. The obit was in tonight's (July 23) Projo. You might not be aware, but Merrill was one of the original NBW members and predated the club with a membership in the Providence Wheelmen. He and Carlton Drummond were close friends with my dad, so I guess you could say he was instrumental in helping me cut my eye teeth on bicycles. His love of ham radio also helped me out with my shortwave listening and my middle son got his ham ticket thru Merrill's guidance.

We will miss him a lot and I would think it only fitting he get an appropriate mention in "Spoken Word". Regards, Ted Ellis
Theodore Ellis
July 23, 2007
Merilyn, Merrill and Carl, I am one of the ten Sullivan kids who grew up next door to your parents. Although I did not know the three of you because of the age difference, we have many memories of your parents, particularly your father. Your father was a quiet, reserved man, but always so pleasant to all of us kids. It was a special day on Marcy Street when he would take out his old fashioned bike and let us all take a "spin." He would sit each of us atop the bike and walk along side it as he pushed the bike, as our feet didn't come close to reaching the pedals. We would then watch in amazement as he would really ride the bike himself, up and down the street, ever so smoothly. He was also the "go to" man when one of our junkie bikes would fail or the chain would fall off. He so patiently helped us get back on our wheels. We would sit and wave to him as he set off on, or returned home from, one of his training rides and admire how physically fit and athletic he was for a man in his later years. We could always tell when he was havng one of his radio meetings, as the street would fill with cars all bearing radio call numbers on the license plates. One night when he was having a meeting, my mother also was holding a meeting at our house. A gentleman entered our back door and proceeded to walk down into our basement. As I wondered why he headed to the dark basement when the meeting was in the dining room, he came back up the steps, sheepishly admitting he had the wrong house. My father sold his Marcy Street house only two months ago and we did a lot of reminiscing while cleaning it out. The house next door is still, and always will be, referred to by us Sullivans as the "Budlong's" house. My deepest condolences to you and and your families.
Christine Athaide
July 23, 2007
Merril gave me my novice exam back in 1969. I spent the next serveral years going to meetings at his house in Edgewood for the Fidelity ARC. Back then I was WA1NOE. I have not met many people that were as giving and helpful. 73's Merril

Spencer Borden
July 23, 2007
Merrill assured me that I'd learn to send reasonable morse when it seemed doubtful. Thanks Merrill, from one of many whom you encouraged.
Jim Sammons KA1ZOU
July 23, 2007
Always helpful, a true Renaissance man. He will be sorely missed.
John Butler wa1wee
July 23, 2007
Goodby Grandpa, I'll miss you
Tom Trocino
July 23, 2007
So long Mr. B
Kerry Shea
July 23, 2007
I was a member of the Fidelity Amateur Radio Club long ago and I remember the many field days that my fellow members and friends participated in. Merrill Budlong had a large influence on my future and that will always fill me with gratitude. I am glad that he lived a long and rich life. W1PRJ (Ex. K1FPT)
Patrick Joy
July 23, 2007
So sorry he will be remembered and a blesure to have known him . Manny happy hours .Allen. Baton , W1aab FARC
Allen Baton Jr
July 23, 2007
Dear "Budlong" family. Merrill was a cherished friend of my parents, Herb and Flossie Hodgeman. They loved both your parents, and even gave my sister Brenda, Louise as a middle name. I am saddened for your loss. Hoping to hear of memorial plans so we might pay our respects. My deepest sympathies. Sandi (Hodgeman) Silva
Sandi Silva
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