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WDF (Founded 1972)


Hank Truby, Ric O'Barry, William Lange, Michael Hyson and others founded the World Dolphin Foundation.  From 1972 to 1974  the World Dolphin Foundation hosted two dolphins, Florida and Liberty in the Mashta Island lagoon  (Part of the original Flagler estate on Key Biscayne and near near Nixon's Florida "Whitehouse"). 

Our concept was that the dolphins would be released, learn to live in the sea and return with other dolphins, offering new cooperative alternatives to captivity.  Over the period of the project, at least 1500 people met the dolphins and often swam with them.  Communication and other projects were planned and partially completed.  In 1974, the dolphins were released near Abaco island, Bahamas at the close of the project.  Florida and Liberty joined a pod formed of dolphins released after filming of  "Day of the Dolphin" with George C. Scott.  Part of this story is told in O'Barry's book "Behind the Dolphin Smile".  The World Dolphin Foundation is still active.

What follows is an outline biography of Hank Truby provided by his son Fred.  It only touches his accomplishments, which include some 250 publications on, among other things -  phonetics; linguistics; speech sounds; "voiceprinting"; baby cry; X-ray films of speech articulations, baby cry and initial breaths; voice recognition and voice synthesis by computer; analysis of dolphin sounds and interspecies communication;  teaching dolphins English with John Lilly; and being the first to take autistic children to see the dolphins; and a phonetic alphabet for children for the teaching of reading and phonetics. 

For many years in Miami, I experienced the rambling Truby household in South Miami including the kids, Doc the pony (who came in the house sometimes), Anika, Nale and the other dogs, swimming, tennis, trampolines, ping-pong, the rescue of scorpions, toads, and other creatures, the baby "squog" (a squirrel?possum?dog? that turned out to be a baby squirrel), Santa Lucia ceremonies, adventures with the dolphins, research at the Mailman Center for Child Development, and many other events.  His wife Ann-Sofi and the kids were/are marvelous, and I will always remember this time as one of the happiest of my life. Those of us privileged to know Hank miss him.  He was one of the most accomplished, talented, and kind people I have ever met.  I learned a lot from him. Thank you Hank! - M.H.


Henry (Hank) Mayer Truby

  • Born in Independence Kansas on July 24, 1919.
  • Age twelve enrolled in St. Johns Military School in Delafield, Wisconsin by winning a national spelling bee. Graduated with Honors in 1937.
  • Attended Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas and graduated 1939.
  • Attended University of Texas. Studied Mathematics, Language, and English. Graduated with a BA in 1941.
  • During WWII served in the US Army as an infantry captain in the Philippines and New Guinea. Decorated with Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. Set records in Army Service Forces Physical Proficiency tests.
  • Attended University of Wisconsin. Graduated with an MA in English 1949. Course emphasis on phonetics, linguistics. In extenso, Anglo-Saxon, Beowolf, Middle English, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Sanskrit, Latin Greek paleography, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Attended Columbia University as a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics in 1950-54. Dissertation was on comparative phonology.
  • 1955. Sweden: Became staff scientist of acoustic phonetics and synthesized speech at the Royal Institute of Technology.
  • 1959. Received Ph.D. in Phonetics at University of Lund, Sweden.  Also wrote and published book on newborn infant cry analysis
  • 1961. NIH consultant and Resident at Bethesda Clinical Center, Washington D.C.
  • 1962-1965. Staff Scientist with IBM in Speech Communication Research Division.
  • 1963-? Phonetics consultant, Random House Dictionary of the English Language. Wrote or co-wrote over 600 definitions.
  • 1964. Honored Alumnus for 1964, St. Johns Military Academy. First time in schoolís 100-year history that this award did not go to a career military or diplomatic candidate.
  • 1965 became Staff Scientist with Dr. John Lilly at the Communication Research Institute in Coconut Grove studying dolphin communication and inter-species communication.
  • 1965-75. Tenured professor at University of Miami in Pediatrics, Linguistics, and Anthropology
  • 1970-71. Special Consultant to US Bureau of Indian Affairs for Miccousukee Indians.
  • World Dolphin Foundation. Charter member. From 1972 President and Director of Scientific Research.
  • International Association of Voiceprint Identification 1971-78. Charter member of the Board of Directors.
  • 1978-1993. National consultant and expert witness in over fifty legal cases involving voice identification.
  • 1992. Awarded Distinguished Alumni of Paris Junior College.
  • Died September 5, 1993 in Miami.

In between his professional accomplishments (Iíve left some out due to space restrictions), my dad was an outspoken advocate for the environment, especially focusing on protecting the Everglades and staunchly opposing hunting for sport and any killing of marine mammals.

In addition, in his busy life, he managed to marry, raise six kids, become a professional tennis player and coach, and operate a summer camp for kids. He was an aspiring musician (singer, rag time piano, trap drums, ukulele) writing over one hundred songs, was a Boy Scout Leader and Girl Scout Leader, root beer aficionado, dominoes champ, and world renowned ping pong whiz!


© 2003 by *PlanetPuna*, Sirius Institute & Sirius Connection 420
*All Rights Reserved to the Sources*
Updated January 19, 2003