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Merrill Peckham Budlong

PhotoBUDLONG, 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.
Published in The Providence Journal on July 23, 2007
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