The Reverend John E. Trowbridge died of congestive heart failure on August 30, 2008 in El Paso, Texas. He was 83. Rev. Trowbridge was born on June 5, 1925 to G. C. and Jessie G. Trowbridge in Deming, New Mexico.
He graduated as valedictorian from Deming High in 1943 and served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946, stationed in Washington, D.C. during World War II and in Japan during the occupation.
Rev. Trowbridge received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from the University of New Mexico in 1950 and a Bachelor of Divinity from Meadville Theological School in 1954. Following graduation, Rev. Trowbridge was called to the Independent Congregational Society (Unitarian) of Bangor, Maine. He was ordained and installed there in 1954, and served until 1958, leaving to further his education and to teach. Rev. Trowbridge attended the Universities of California and Colorado to study philosophy and psychology, but decided to return to active ministry. In 1964, he became Assistant Curator of Public Communications at the Minnesota Historical Society, working there while searching for a congregation to serve.
Called to the North Branch Association of Universalist Churches in 1964, Rev. Trowbridge served the association’s churches in Sheshequin, Standing Stone, and Towanda, Pennsylvania. When the association could no longer support a full-time minister, Rev. Trowbridge continued as part-time minister, while seeking full-time employment which he found with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare as a caseworker. Rev. Trowbridge continued his part-time ministry for these churches until his retirement in 1986. In 2003, the UU Church of Athens and Sheshequin conferred Minister Emeritus on Rev. Trowbridge for his years of service to them.
Rev. Trowbridge published articles in The Unitarian World, an English Unitarian journal called Faith and Freedom, and in The Christian Century. Throughout his adult life, beginning with art classes in Bangor, Maine, Rev. Trowbridge found time to paint, primarily in water color, focusing on landscapes from the various locations where he lived. Once retired, he served on the board of directors of the Deming, New Mexico, Arts Council. As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, Rev. Trowbridge led a UU discussion group for many years and volunteered for the Luna County Chapter of the New Mexico Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.
Rev. Trowbridge is survived by his daughter, Alina Ruth Thomas Trowbridge of San Francisco; his son, Brandon Edward (Ned) Trowbridge; his daughter-in-law, Diane Trowbridge; and his step-grandchildren, Spencer and Chandler Steinbacher, of Williamsport, PA.
Please send messages of condolence to Alina Trowbridge, 801 Fillmore Street, Apt. 17, San Francisco, CA 94117 and Ned Trowbridge, 1308 Hepburn St., Williamsport, PA 17701.