With the help of a significant contribution from the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation, an endowed scholarship has been created at TJC in honor of the late Virbel Ray Trotter and his wife, Sue.
TWWF President Dick Goetz and members of the Trotter family presented the Virbel and Sue Trotter Endowed Scholarship during Thursday’s regular meeting of the TJC Board of Trustees.
According to criteria established by the Trotter family, scholarships awarded from this endowment will go to full-time TJC students who are honorably discharged veterans of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Dick Goetz spoke on behalf of the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation.
“This is our 10th year as the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation, which started right here in Tyler,” Geotz said. “We’ve raised more than $3.5 million in that period and helped more than 350 wounded warriors and their families.”
Paul Trotter, son of Virbel and Sue Trotter, addressed the board on behalf of the family.
“We came together as a family and decided there were four guiding principles that led us to the decision that a scholarship was the right way to honor our dad,” Trotter said.
Those principles were:
• A love of family
• A commitment to the military and to serving veterans and their families
• A sense of helpfulness and stewardship
• A deep tie to Tyler Junior College
Paul Trotter and his three siblings all attended TJC, as have many of their children and grandchildren, he said.
“My mom, Sue Trotter was a professor at TJC and retired as director of the computer science department in 1994,” he said. “My sister, Linda Bellington, is a professor at TJC today, in the math department.”
“Our roots with this institution are strong,” he said. “We’ve studied here, we’ve worked here, and now it’s only fitting that we give back here.”
About Virbel and Sue Trotter
Virbel Ray Trotter was born in the Gilmer/Smyrna area of Northeast Texas and lived near Winnsboro, as a child. He served as a corporal for the U.S. Army during the Korean War and later moved to Tyler, where he worked for Washington National Insurance until his retirement.
Trotter was very proud of his service in the U.S. Army; and when an East Texas Chapter of the Korean War Veterans was established, he immediately became an active participant and remained so until his death in 2016.
Ironically, today’s presentation took place on the 64th anniversary of the signing of the truce signed between North and South Korea, bringing an end to the acts of armed forces on the Korean peninsula.
He enjoyed helping people and often did many caring acts, especially for widows of fellow service members.
Merle Sue Chandler Winter Trotter was born in the San Antonio area and later moved to Tyler. She attended Tyler Junior College from 1968 to 1970 and received her Bachelor of Science degree from East Texas University in Commerce.
In 1980, she began teaching computer science at TJC and later became the department chair serving in that role until her retirement in1994. While continuing to teach at TJC, she earned her master’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler.
The Trotters were married in 1972. He brought two sons into the family, Paul and Tim. She brought two daughters, Linda and Katherine.