TRUEMAN, JAMES R. (25 April 1935-11 June 1986) was the founder of the Red Roof motel chain as well as one of the nation's leading race car drivers, owners, and sponsors. A native of Cleveland, the son of George and Alma Trueman was raised in EUCLID. He was a 1953 graduate of Benedictine High School, where he became an outsrtanding runner in cross country and track. His engineering studies at Ohio State University were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army. He married Barbara Colucci of Dayton in 1961 and entered the construction business in Columbus. He also began driving race cars, winning 125 victories including 2 Sports Car of America championships. Traveling the race car circuit demonstrated to Trueman the need for inexpensive lodgings, and he opened his first Red Roofr Inn near Columbus in 1973. The chain grew to more than 100 units within a decade, and Trueman began to sponsor his own race cars and promising young drivers. He purchased the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, O., and formed the TrueSports Indy Car team with driver Bobby Rahal. It won the first BUDWEISER-CLEVELAND 500 in 1982 and the Indianapolis 500 in 1986, only 11 days before Trueman's death from cancer in Columbus. Trueman was survived by his wife, son Colin, and daughters Michelle and Megan. He was the first inductee into the Benedictine High School Hall of Honors, and in 1994 the school dedicated its renovated gym as the Trueman Memorial Fieldhouse in honor of him and his brother Bill.

Article Categories