John L. Truyens: Biography of Lillian Disney’s Husband

John L. Truyens

John L. Truyens was famous as the second husband of Lilian Disney. Lilian was the wife of Walt Disney until he died in 1966. She worked as a secretary at Walt Disney Animation Studios when she met her future husband, Walt. After their union, Lilian later worked as an ink artist at Disney Studios. During a train ride in 1928, Walt revealed a new animated character named Mortimer Mouse to Lilian. She suggested they rename the character Mickey Mouse, which has become synonymous with the Disney brand since then. Please keep reading to discover more details about John and Lilian Disney’s life stories.

John L. Truyens Bio

John L. Truyens was born in Antwerp, Flanders, Germany, on 15 May 1907 to Hubert D Truyens and Blanche Truyens. He lived a simple life as a real estate developer in Southern California until he met Lillian Disney. The couple tied the knot in 1969 and stayed together until he died in 1981. Even as Lillian’s husband, John maintained a low profile, and little is known about his details.

John L. Truyens Wife

Lilian Marie Disney was born in Spalding, Idaho, U.S., on 15 February 1899. She grew up with nine older siblings in Lapwai on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. Her father, Willard, worked as a blacksmith, but the family struggled financially. Lilian and her mother moved to Lewiston after high school, and she attended a year of business college. She then moved to her sister Hazel’s home in southern California in 1923. Lilian was a secretary at the Disney Studio’s ink and painted when she met Walt Disney.

Lilian and Disney married at her brother’s home in Idaho on 13 July 1925. The couple had one biological daughter Diane Marie Disney born in 1993 and who died in 2013. Diane and her family co-founded the Walt Disney Family Museum, where she was president of the Board of Directors. They also adopted a daughter named Sharon Mae Disney, born in 1936, who died in 1993. Lillian and Disney had ten grandchildren: seven by Diane and her husband Ron and three by Sharon and her two husbands, Robert and William.

Lilian’s film career didn’t go unnoticed, as she worked as an ink artist on the film Plane Crazy. She is also credited with naming her husband’s most popular character, Mickey Mouse, in 1928. Her other recognitions include Walt Disney’s 1:8-scale live steam locomotive, which he named Lilly Belle in her honor. He also named one of the Disneyland Railroad cars the Lilly Belle, and a locomotive at the Disney World Railroad is named Lilly Belle for her outstanding contribution to the Walt Disney Company.

After Walt Disney died of lung cancer on 15 December 1966, Lillian married John L. Truyens in 1969 until he died in 1981. Precisely 31 years after the death of her first husband, Lillian suffered a stroke on 15 December 1997. She died the following morning at her West Los Angeles home, aged 98.

Wrapping Up

Lillian believed her 41-year marriage to Walt Disney was exciting, and she loved every moment. She was lucky to find love again in John L. Truyens.