Died: April 26, 1995
Married: Jean Moore Amory; Ursula Wyatt
Children: With Jean: Garry Trudeau, Jeanne Fenn, Michelle Trudeau
Dr. Francis B. Trudeau, known as Frank, was the son of Dr. Francis Berger Trudeau and grandson of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau and the father of Garry Trudeau. He was the founding president of the Trudeau Institute.
He was graduated from Yale University in 1942. He was a World War II veteran, having served in the Navy. He was graduated from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1950, and trained as an intern and resident at Bellevue Hospital and New York University; he took further training at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. Dr. Trudeau practiced internal medicine in Saranac Lake from 1954 until his retirement in 1985. He was chief of medicine at the General Hospital from 1960 to 1977.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 11, 1982
SL's Dr. Trudeau makes own breaks with exercise as motivation
By GEOFF KNAPP Sports Editor
SARANAC LAKE - Dr. Francis Trudeau's athletic achievements extend along a lengthy winding road. The name of the road is Recovery.
The 61-year-old Saranac Lake native has rebounded from over seven major orthopedic problems, including a broken back and hip, to capture first place in the Masters 15-kilometer Cross-Country Ski Championships held Monday at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. The event was a part of the Empire State Winter Games.
'Functional return' is a term which Trudeau uses to describe the ability to not only have an injury mended but to also regain full use of areas affected. The full recovery of an injured athlete involves a meticulous schedule of exercise but Trudeau believes that physical recovery is only 50 percent of the fight to a complete functional return.
The mental attitude of the athlete on the rebound is critical for an entire recovery, according to the healthy Trudeau.
The string of injuries started while a member of the Yale University ski jumping team in the late 1930s. A jump in the U.S. National Ski Jump competitions resulted in a broken back and numerous other related complications.
Fortunately for Trudeau, another competitor in the meet came to his aid and helped him to the stretcher. The doctor recalls that the help came from a man named Art Devlin.
After being transported in a hearse to the hospital (no ambulance was available). Trudeau was placed in a body cast which extended from his lower torso all the way to his neck.
Other complications stemmed from the injury including problems with joints and bone marrow infections.
Trudeau overcame the majority of problems related to the injury and pursued a Naval R.O.T.C career which began in 1942 in Tunisia, North Africa.
While serving overseas, the officer ran into further misfortune and seriously injured his knee. This time the recovery period included three years of being placed on crutches.
The Saranac Lake native returned to medical school in 1946 at New York City's Columbia University where he met sports medicine expert Hans Krauss. Krauss emphasized the theory of functional return to Trudeau who began a series of therapeutic exercises to regain full use of his leg in athletic activity.
Back in the North Country in the late '60s, the doctor received further guidance from Lake Placid's Dr Ed Hixson.
Hixson's guidance carried Trudeau back to the winter sports scene where he became a ski patrol at Whiteface Mountain.
Trudeau utilized his own experiences by putting his first-hand knowledge into practice in Saranac Lake.
The remarkable story became almost an epic for the determined doctor in 1979.
After returning from a trekking tour in the Himalayas, further misfortune struck. Trudeau slipped on an ice patch outside Lake Placid's Olympic Arena and the end result was a broken hip.
Dr. Craig Dumond from Ray Brook performed surgery which required a complete replacement of the hip. Dumond has since become chiefly responsible for the amazing comeback.
Dumond theorized that jogging would put too much pressure on the hip region but that the sliding action of cross-country skiing would act as an excellent exercise tool.
Trudeau has become very active in the sport of rowing where last summer he was vice-president of the Lake Placid Rowing Club.
Trudeau believes that motivation reaps one of the highest rewards possible— a bountiful life which includes constant activity.
The Evil Knievil of winter sports will continue to compete when he travels to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire Saturday where he will compete in the 50-kilometer Yukon Jack crosscountry ski race.
Trudeau strongly believes that good health is more than the absence of disease. He says that to get the full optimum of life there is only one medicine he prescribes— exercise.
The Guild News, April, 1942
Just Nerves; Not Nerve
"Listen my friends and you shall hear
Of the Sunday jump of a nervous skier"
by Frank B. Trudeau
But I'm not a poet, just one of those guys who during the winter tours the eastern ski-jumping circuit and spends each spring in a cast.
People who know I jump, often ask me how it feels to be up there. If you're good they tell me it feels swell; if you're not, well it feels like something that rhymes with "swell." It's a thrill, though, that lots don't care to know about. In fact, many feel they've got just enough nerve to read about it. To that large and extremely intelligent group, I respectfully dedicate this paper.
Each Sunday morning I find myself nervously contemplating a deadly and precipitous looking affair in one of our leading ski resorts. I try to practice a couple of times Sunday mornings; no other competitor does. the Norwegians jumped out of their cribs several times in perfect form when they were a little younger, and have been arriving at competitions at 2 P.M. Sundays ever since--just in time to win and roar off to the nearest Hofbrau House.
So, in beautiful solitude with only a few bored workmen tacking up pennants around the stands, I soar off. (Newspapers say "soar"--I would say plummet is more accurate). Everything is fine. I'm as relaxed as I ever am--just a couple of convulsive twitches as I peer down the scaffold. But I always jump well Sunday mornings--except for that time I broke my back, and the other time I carried away the better part of my forearm. As a rule, though, it is then I jump most gracefully for me and plod happily back to the competitors' hut for a bit of lunch.
I've about gotten thru a cup of coffee, when someone taps me on the back, "If you're competing you'd better sign in now," he says. That's the end of my appetite. They say you never realize how close the war is until your husband, or son, or roommate gets killed in it. Well, it's the same with jumping. You never fully realize how close you are to returning to dust till you sing that vicious slip. It says something about if you break your neck, you can't say it was the hill's fault, and it reminds you that in case of death you mustn't let your heirs sue the club.
"Whoopee!" I think to myself as I struggle to get my sixteen-pound skis over my shoulder: "At long last I can crack up with legality." Slowly we trudge up the hill, 300 steps or more on a good one. The crowd is beginning to gather. They look at the climbing competitors hungrily. The Romans had the same look when they watched the Christians led to the Arena. A guy shoots off in a practice jump. I watch him over my shoulder. He bounces once on his back, twice on his side, and he's ready for his next jump. Then we're at the top, get our numbers, pin them on, and start waxing feverishly. Don't need to wax but everyone does -- it's good for the nerves. My number is 32 this time. When number 20 comes down I start up the scaffold. It's VERY tense at the top. Somebody is saying something about me in Norwegian. I wonder what. Devlin and Tokle are talking quietly in the corner. "Remember zat fall at Brattleboro last week?" says Torger.
"You mean that boy who lay at the bottom with his foot and ski slowly making complete turns on the end of his leg?"
"Yea, yea," says Torger, enthusiastically, but I hear no more. The loud speaker is bellowing out my name, number and the fact that I go to Yale. I'm sorry about that last announcement. Yale had enough of a disgrace in the last football season. But down I go, faster and faster. The end of the take-off seems to be coming right along. I straighten up with a snap. For the first time I can see the landing hill and the crowd. I feel awfully high up. I try to think about form; it improves just a hair. I wish I could think faster. Then whack I hit the hill and zoom out on the level--that's one thing I can do as well as anybody.
I ski by the crowd. Once at Bear Mountain I looked at them. Everyone looked disappointed. Not that I wasn't good, that wasn't the reason. When they heard the word "Yale" in the announcement, I guess they all moved toward the ambulance, their Roman blood flushing their cheeks. the suddenly, there I was at the bottom, the stretcher wasn't needed -- not that time. I've never looked at that wicked group which makes up a jumping audience since. Often, though, I please them.