Cover photo for Verle Stephen Trotter's Obituary
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1952 Verle 2022

Verle Stephen Trotter

August 19, 1952 — February 15, 2022

Verle Stephen Trotter, 69, of Dayton, Tennessee passed away at Vanderbilt Hospital on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.   Steve is preceded in death by his parents, Verle Fenmore Trotter and Margaret Abel Trotter.

Steve began as an apprentice and rose to various supervisory positions with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, Local 453 and 454.  He was a Mechanical Supervisor at Kiewit Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri for 5 years before permanently retiring.

Steve’s successful bout with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 39 and his subsequent heart transplant at 64 enthused his energy.  His inspiring story is entwined with his service to community including his devoted and lifelong membership at First United Methodist Church, faithfully volunteering for many endeavors, especially the Christmas Basket project.

Steve is a 1970 graduate of Rhea Central High School and The University of Tennessee Business School, class of 1974 where he played trumpet in the Pride of the Southland Band.  From the Halls of UT, he embraced his love of the Big Orange and bade his sweetheart, Katie for their first date to UT’s 2011 Labor Day weekend game at Neyland in which his Vols handily defeated the Montana Grizzlies 42-16.  Katie, wide-eyed from the orange sea, was also destined to be a Vol fan and a short 5 months later his loving bride.

Steve was a charismatic and captivating story teller, spinning yarns about everything except his days’ catch, which was always straight and true.  Living the dream!  That’s what Steve frequently told Katie and friends.

Steve and Katie moved to their Chickamauga Lake home 8 years ago, furthering Steve’s opportunities to fish The Chick as often as he’d like.  He’d see a friend, invite him to fish, and so it went.  Steve’s fishing boat is tricked-out for bass, but he angled for crappie for Katie, to host fish fries for their many friends.

Fondly known as Papa-T to his grandsons Kamden, Keifer and Karter, Steve extended his love of fishing to them, teaching casting and water safety and the simple joy of floating on the river.  With Steve’s supervision and guidance from Scenic City’s Richard Simms, to the delight of Steve, Keifer gleafully fought and reeled in an enormous 40# trophy catfish on Lake Chickamauga this past summer.  All three grandboys were ruthless at monopoly and enjoyed trying to beat Papa-T at chess.

A Bassmaster Elite Marshall, Steve captained the Rhea County High School Anglers, teaching by example fine casting techniques and sure boating safety while instructing each to “set the hook”.   This was his angler’s way and his lifeway so that although he never preached to them, through this was a mission of sorts, showing these young anglers his love of God and nature, including mentoring them with his gentle soul and hearty humor.

Following Mark 1:16-20, Steve knew this:  As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me”, Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 

Survivors include his wife, Kathryn Sue Trotter, sister Freida Deneace Trotter, both of Dayton and his stepson, C. Eric (Brooke) Brookens and grandsons Kamden Keifer and Karter, all of Waverly Missouri.  Also surviving are his sisters-in law Kelly (Rodney) French of Nashville, Karla Lynn Katz of New Orleans and brother-in-law Arthur H. (Lori) Kurtz of Norwalk, Ohio.  Also, step-grandson Michael Chase (Christy) Davis and their children Gracie & Karder of Lexington, Indiana as well as numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.

The celebration of Steve’s life will be Saturday, March 12 at 2 pm (EST) at Dayton’s First United Methodist Church with The Rev. Layne Pennington officiating.   Following the service, the family will receive friends at The Trinity Chapel downtown.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Christmas Basket Fund at First United Methodist Church, 993 Market Street, Dayton, TN 37321.

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