Earl Clay Trotter

Born a poor country boy in Asheboro, NC, Earl was determined to get an education and travel the world. He did all that and more in his 89 years: this page is a celebration of his life.

Earl loved to communicate. He wrote letters to family, friends and public officials, wrote for local papers occasionally, maintained a blog or two, and was an early adopter of any new communication tools he could get his hands on. Intellectual work wasn’t considered real work where he came from, so he was extremely pleased to self-publish his memoir, Ol’ Joe’s Boy, in 2016. 

He tells his story, warts and all. Some have refused to read it, others love it, and one woman called him to say “Shame on you!” after reading it, then threw it in the trash. Honesty can be unsettling like that. 

Who’s building this memorial page? Me, Little Shiva, Earl’s eldest daughter. I’ll be adding photos, videos, links and memories over the years as time permits. In the last years of his life, Earl’s constant companion was a rescue cat named Bean, who now lives with my sister and her husband in Knoxville, TN. If you’d like to make a donation in Earl’s memory to a cat rescue project I founded, Street Cats of Vis, you can do so here.

How do I remember Earl, my dad? He was GENEROUS, not just financially, but more importantly with kindness and knowledge. He also generously shared his opinions, which didn’t always win him friends. He was TENACIOUS, pursuing his goals and dreams, questioning authority and showing the process of how to achieve things by taking one little step at a time. He could also be ORNERY, but that would blow over fast and he’d be back to his normal, jovial self. He was an optimist at heart: his glass was always half full.

One of Earl’s favorite hobbies was documenting the family. It will take time to gather, go through, convert and get some of this material online, especially since archives are scattered around the world. Here are a couple playlists I’ve started building: one with videos of Earl through the years, and another one with music he liked. 

Keep On Truckin'!

Earl Clay Trotter died in the wee hours of Sunday, November 26, 2023, at Rain Forest Landings in Knoxville, TN. He was born at home on Balfour road in Asheboro, NC in April of 1934 to Mrs. Clyde Trotter and her husband Joe.

He had a twin, Dearl Lee, who was born and died on April 21. His twin brother’s tombstone says April 21, but the birth registry says April 23. Earl chose to celebrate his birthday on April 23 because that was Shakespeare’s birthday AND deathday. Fun fact: when Earl got a pacemaker, he named it Dearl Lee.

Earl was preceded in death by his wife and the mother of his two daughters, Alice Poulsen Trotter (May 12, 1939 – March 21, 1986), and was divorced from his second wife, Tatiana, who lives in Russia. His brothers Henry, Ed and Cecil, Sister Jo Doris and their spouses also preceded him.

He is survived by his eldest daughter Anna Christina “Christy” Trotter (a.k.a. Little Shiva) and her husband Thierry Tillier, as well as by his youngest daughter Tiffany Alene Lynch, her husband Michael Anthony Lynch, their children Michael Jacob Lynch and Alene Christina Padilla-Tiller, as well as Alene’s husband Nestor Padilla-Tiller.

Earl is also survived by members of his extended family in Russia, Belgium, Colombia and the U.S. as well as by friends around the world, nieces, nephews and “cousins by the dozens” in and around his hometown of Asheboro, North Carolina. 

Earl and Alice
Earl on 22 April, 2023
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