In Memoriam: J. Irwin Trotter (1927 - 2012)

January 5, 2013
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
CST, Kresge Chapel

Rev. Dr. J. Irwin Trotter, died on December 2, 2012, in Ripon, California, with his wife Ganyl by his side. Born June 19, 1927, in Los Angeles, to Fred B. and Hazel Trotter, he graduated from Huntington Park High School in 1945. He was drafted and served in the US Navy in World War II. Later, he became a pacifist and seeker and promoter of peace. He received a B.A. from Occidental College, a B.D. from Yale Divinity School, and a D.D. from the University of the Pacific. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa.

Ordained a United Methodist pastor in 1955, he served churches in Connecticut and Southern California. He was the founding pastor of Granada Hills United Methodist Church. He was also the Los Angeles and Long Beach District Superintendent and served as the Director of the Conference Council on Ministries and Assistant to Bishop Charles Golden, the first African-American Bishop in the Annual Conference.

In 1984, he became the Gerald H. Kennedy Professor of Homiletics at Claremont School of Theology, a post he held for 16 years. He enjoyed the challenge of working with young pastors to encourage them to find their own preaching style and voice.

In 1972, Irwin married Gaynl Stouffer, a partner who shared his passion for peace, justice and the church. Irwin and Gaynl had one daughter, Sheena Trotter Dennis, who graduated from Claremont schools and followed her father into the ministry as an ordained United Methodist pastor.

Irwin retired with Gaynl to Ripon, California. There he enjoyed involvement with the Modesto First United Methodist Church, the Ripon Congregational Church, and the Parkinson’s Support Group. He kept busy with writing projects and keeping abreast of world affairs and scientific developments. Irwin had enjoyed backpacking in the High Sierras, world travel, listening to opera and classical music, reading and spending time with family. Throughout his life he explored spirituality. A self-proclaimed skeptic, his faith was neither sentimental, nor shallow. He was always seeking new ways to experience the “Mystery.”

He is survived by Gaynl, his devoted wife of 40 years; his daughter, Sheena and her husband Pete Dennis, and granddaughters Katherine and Lauren, two brothers, one sister and many nieces and nephews, and countless friends.

Memorial Service Jan. 5, Kresge Chapel, 10 a.m.

A service celebrating Irwin’s life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at Claremont School of Theology, Kresge Chapel (1325 N. College Ave). All are invited. An additional service will be held on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 10:30 am at First Congregational Church of Ripon (100 N. Acacia Ave.). In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to the Claremont School of Theology,.u6 ma “J. Irwin Trotter Communications Center,” The Wilderness Society, or the Parkinson’s Institute (Sunnyvale, CA).