William R. (Bill) Trotter, noted author, died at his home, surrounded by his family, on February 28 after a valiant battle with cancer.
Born in Charlotte in 1943, Bill was a graduate of Davidson. His studies in Finland began lifelong interest in that country’s history and culture, receiving the Finlandia Aware in Arts & Letters (1995) for “A Frozen Hell” the history of the Russo-Finnish War (required reading for Finland’s marines.) His expertise in the field of military history led to presentations to the USMC on arctic warfare in 1996.
Bill’s trilogy of the Civil War in North Carolina is still considered one of the best. His abiding love of music is reflected in his more than 20 published books (fiction & non-fiction), countless essays and reviews, not to mention is extensive collection of Classical recordings fro all over the world. Bill’s program notes for the EMF always illuminated the music.
His many writings included novels and award-winning short stories in the realms of fantasy and horror. “Mr. Bill” as he was affectionately known) was a true Renaissance man.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Elizabeth Lustig; sons Colin Trotter, Joshua Bohen, and Michael Trotter; brother Pete Gaskell (Julie), sister Jan Ross (Art), sister-in-law Catherine Stuart (Neil), brother-in-law Michael Lustig (Sue), and a gaggle of loving nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank good Friends Michael Bohen and Erin Bush who gave tirelessly of their time in helping care for Mr. Bill. Plans for a Celebration of Life memorial will be announced.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the angels of Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro.
One Reply to “Bill Trotter ’66”
Our classmate. Billy Trotter passed away at his Greensboro home February 28, 2018, surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Lustig, three sons, and a brother and sister.
While Billy was at Davidson the college hadn’t yet developed its junior year abroad program, so he created one for himself to study and research in Finland–which resulted in his prize-winning history of the Russo-Finnish War, A Frozen Hell. Expert in military history, he wrote an acclaimed trilogy on the Civil War in North Carolina and with Virginia Cornue edited and wrote commentary for So Much Blood, a collection of Civil War letters. Among his many other books were a biography of conductor and composer Dimitri Mitropolous, several computer guides, and the novels The Sands of Pride and Winter Fire.
As yet unpublished is his biography of conductor Leopold Stokowski and Prunes, a novel based on his Davidson experiences. He authored numerous essays, short stories, and book reviews. A lover of classical music with a vast personal collection, he also leaves behind illuminating articles, reviews, and program notes on music. He was a consultant to a variety of projects in film, history, and music.
Perhaps his most memorable contribution to life at Davidson came at the end of his senior year when on the shores and in the waters of Lake Norman he assembled, much to their glee in the face of exam tension and exhaustion, a great host of the student body for a mock Battle on the Ice scene in his regular eight millimeter “The Battle of Goat Island,” a parody of Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky. Billy was a polymath, approaching each project with devotion, insight, and humor.
To speak personally, I will continue to hold dear Billy’s imagination, passion, and persistence—and his loyal friendship.
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