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Yes, There Really Was A Man Named Truly Nolen! Truly Wheatfield Nolen started his pest control business in Miami Beach, Florida in 1938, during the Great Depression. The business had roots in sanitation, which evolved into rodent and pest control. And everyone in the family, including his son Truly David Nolen, played his or her part to help the company service customers and be successful.

Truly David Nolen was an entrepreneur and an inventor who added value to the lives he touched each and every day.

Born on February 24, 1928 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Truly grew up during the Great Depression. He charted his own course by sailing his boat from Miami Beach, Florida to Annapolis, Maryland when he was 16. After majoring in Entomology at the University of Purdue, Nolen transferred closer to home to the University of Florida and graduated in 1950. Truly returned to Miami Beach where his father Truly Wheatfield Nolen owned Economy Exterminators (founded in 1938) and began working for him.

In 1952, Nolen contracted polio and was placed in an iron lung for one year. Due to his tenacity and strong will to overcome adversity, he conquered the illness and being told he would never walk again. He did not allow his condition or limited mobility due to crutches keep him from piloting a plane, spearfishing for sport, captaining a boat, or driving his car.

After two years and a minor detour into the construction industry in New Jersey, Truly saved enough money to start his own business. A National Geographicarticle about termites in Tucson combined with a desire not to compete against his father led him to move across the country to Arizona where he began selling pest control door-to-door in 1955.

After missing the Yellow Pages deadline when he first opened, he purchased an old 1937 Plymouth for $100 and put “Truly Nolen Pest Control” on the side along with the office phone number. The car broke down at a gas station at a main Tucson intersection, and the gas station owner allowed the car to stay put while the mechanic was making an estimate. A few days later, the estimate had still not come but Truly received a phone call from a new customer and quickly discovered the person saw the phone number from where the car broke down. Truly began purchasing cars, painting them with his company name and phone number, and began rotating them around Tucson, which worked like magic.

A desire to have his company fleet look alike led to a Volkswagen Van being turned into an “Ant Truck” complete with antennae. This desire to stand out struck gold, or yellow, when Truly used a Volkswagen Beetle to create his masterpiece in 1961 – the Mouse Car. With its ears and a tail plus name, logo, and phone number, the cars were a virtual moving billboard and instantly recognizable. Even today, nearly six decades later, Truly is known for the Mouse Car worldwide and the vehicle routinely evokes smiles and happiness to people of all ages.

In 1966, Truly purchased his father’s pest control company, which allowed him to instantly expand operations from coast to coast and eventually grew Truly Nolen of America into one of the nation’s largest family-owned pest control companies stretching from California to Arizona, from Utah and Nevada to New Mexico, and from Texas to Florida. In addition, the company’s domestic franchising division has locations across the U.S., including New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Thanks to Truly’s forward thinking, the company added a standalone international component in 1989, and 30 years later, the company now has 238 international offices in 66 countries.

After moving to Naples, Florida in the early-1990’s, he became extensively involved in charitable works through his synagogue as well as other channels for over 25 years. He also made it a point for the company’s service offices to become invested in their local communities through home shows, hospital visits, school visits, and mouse car parades.

Truly had a famous sense of humor, often quoting films by Mel Brooks or his personal favorite, Airplane!

Truly’s “rules” to live by:

* Find humor in everything, even adversity.

* Stay positive and persistent to the extreme.

* Work hard, play hard.

* Do what you want to, not just to make money.

*Don’t be afraid to be different – take a chance!

Upon his death at the age of 89 on April 18, 2017, he was survived by his wife of 32 years Vickie Taylor Nolen. He was also survived by eight children, 12 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.