Todd Ragsdale Scudder was a friend of mine during his and my time in Malta. He was from Virginia (USA) and was supposed to be a student in Malta – he and I used to hang around in Gzira, Sliema and Paceville.
Todd was a person with enormous enthusiasm for life. He was at times a bit exasperating after a few drinks, but I tried (and usually succeeded) to calm him down. He was as far from the normal Maltese character that is possible, but many people liked him. Todd on the whole was sharp, keen, a go-getter, very friendly and caring towards his friends.
When Bush and Gorbachev met in Malta in 1989 in the most appalling weather conditions, Todd found himself freelancing for US news crews out in Grand Harbour, whilst I was assisting UK news teams in the storms inland (see the video below). Those days were really thrilling to be involved in something that was making history and he embraced every moment.
Todd and I never said goodbye. I did get a message via a mutual friend – he had sent his best regards before he flew out to Rome.
He left a huge impression on me and I shall forever remember our unlikely Anglo-American genuine friendship in the Mediterranean sunshine.
I went looking for my American friend in 2002 through the internet*. I was too late – Todd had died at the desperately early age of 31 in July 2001.
Todd Ragsdale Scudder was as American as you could get – meeting him and being his friend was a real pleasure. After all these years I can still see his face, hear his infectious chuckle and those friendly silly old fashioned British ‘stiff upper lip’ jokes he’d try on with me!
“Todd Ragsdale Scudder, 31, of Richmond, died Friday, July 20, 2001. He is survived by his parents, Robert and Sherry Scudder of Richmond; a sister, Julie Hilliard of Redding, Conn.; a brother, Greg Scudder of San Bernardino, Calif. Todd was an exchange student at the University of the Virgin Islands, the University of Malta and Rome. Friends will gather at Todd’s parent’s home from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 27, 2001. A memorial service will be held in Russellville, Ark. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Richmond SPCA or Hospice of Central Virginia”.