OBITUARY: Truman Rocke Warlick, Aug. 8, 1939 – Oct. 25, 2020

Truman Rocke Warlick, 81, of Sparks, Nevada, passed away in his home on Oct. 25, 2020 of natural causes. He was born in Lakeport, California to S.M. “Slick” and Faith Warlick on Aug. 8, 1939.

Truman lived his life, as much as possible, on the edge.

As a youth he took pleasure riding his bicycle off the high diving board or diving into the pool from the highest bleacher seat, clearing certain death by fractions of an inch. 

He graduated from Eureka Sr. High School in Eureka, California in 1957. He then received a congressional appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where he played football and lacrosse until his bout with rheumatic fever. He finished his brief Naval career in the air as a Navy aviator in the cockpit as a right-seater and on land as an M.P.

He was a member in good standing of the Operating Engineers Union for many decades and was well known for his capabilities operating heavy equipment.

His life reflected a true bohemian lifestyle. On a desolate ocean beach, he would cook up his freshly caught surf fish on a warm driftwood fire overlooking a stunning sunset.  He entertained a throng of relatives at a remote campsite at the headwaters of Coffee Creek in Northern California with his upright piano in his “War Wagon.” There was no question of his joining a local pickup basketball game or playing a few sets of tennis.

He would elaborate on the 1950s Road & Track description of Bugatti’s timing specs; the Janes details of the Spitfire’s fuel consumption during a dogfight; or the latest Russian MIG jet engine design.

He was equally comfortable with an operating engineer going over a hydraulic pump design, reviewing the expanded Periodic Chart with a chemist, or molecular subtleties with an astrophysicist.

For just plain fun, he would extend the art of the possible: from motorcycle off-road racing, to rebuilding drag race engines between Sunday runs, to racing vintage cars at Laguna.

He took a flight to nowhere on the Concord, sailed San Diego Bay while the America’s Cup catamarans hoisted their sails/wing.

He was familiar with sailing off Narragansett, Newport and Cape Cod. He then extended his sailing prowess to the Atlantic Seaboard, past the Florida Keys and through the Panama Canal to the Pacific. He crewed some of the TransPac Yacht Races as a navigator. 

His idea of fun extended to his E Jag where at 80 mph on a deserted sandy beach he would crank the wheel for a series of donuts and a helluva thrill. After a double hip replacement he was found tearing up the ski slopes.

A photographic/eidetic memory makes for unusual conversations. He would expand and expound on the poetry of Keats or compare the thoughts of Kant and Spinoza with ease.

When asked about Plato’s “Perfect Harmonic Cord”, he quoted verbatim three pages of the Plato Dialogues. He did not have recall, he had total recall.  He once noted that this recall was a gift AND a curse.

In Truman’s later years, it was apparent that he was the exemplar of a “Renaissance Man” transitioning with ease from digging a ditch with tight tolerance slope, to conferring with corporations on the next form of available energy, to hauling World War II planes to the Stead Airfield and aiding in their restoration, to making an annual trek to the old Soviet Bloc States where he retrieved parts for the MIG Air Command in Stead.

He even purchased his own Russian jet trainer for a personal fun toy.  His “Renaissance Man” qualities included his natural musical abilities. He was an adept pianist and composer, scoring a feature length musical. He surprised a couple of his siblings when they discovered he was the pianist at the piano bar at a convention they were attending.

He had gumption, verve, brains, and talent. He also had a generous and tender heart. This quality was exemplified by his initiating and maintaining an annual Thanksgiving cookout for the homeless in Sparks, Nevada which over the years grew to serving over 300 meals each Thanksgiving. He ran the gamut from hard science to high literature, from operating a backhoe to racing vintage cars, from philosophy to peanut-shell-laden-floors in taverns throwing back a brew. To say he was complex and complicated would be a gross understatement.

In a nutshell: a memorable character who lived life full out.

Truman Rocke is preceded in death by both his parents, his former wife, Diane Warlick, his stepson Joey Epifani, his younger brother, Roger Warlick, and his niece, Tuesday Warlick Peterson He is survived by his stepson and wife, Jean and Edward Epifani, DMD, his sisters, Gay Chastain and Margo Meck, Ph.D., his brother and sister-in-law Timothy and Rayetta Warlick and his brother and sister-in-law Steven and Terry Warlick.

Per his request, no memorial service will be held. Memorials may be given to organizations of your choice that benefit vets.



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