MONROE — James "Jim" Norman Trowbridge, 88, passed away (Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013) at his home in Monroe.
He was born March 25, 1925 in Barnwell County, S.C., a son of the late Frank Rowland Trowbridge and the late Nellie Ray Trowbridge, he was also preceded in death by a sister, Sally Rion.
Jim was a child of the Depression, delivering Coca-Colas on the sandy streets of Aiken, S.C., on the bicycle he shared with his brother and two sisters. An alarm clock attached to the handle bars ensured everyone got his turn.
It was with this sense of sharing something important that he moved through life. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, participating in the liberation of the Philippines. After earning a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of South Carolina, he began a career with W.R. Bonsal Co. in Lilesville in the early 1950s and worked there as an engineer for more than 30 years. He soon married, and he and wife Nona Claire began a family, raising three daughters in Wadesboro.
Throughout his life, Jim shared his time and talents with his community, church and family, always with a vision for humbly striving for the common good. He first served on the planning board and town council. In 1960, he received the Young Man of the Year Award from the Jaycees. He went on to become president of the county Chamber of Commerce. He was president of the local United Way campaign. As chairman of the county library board, he spearheaded a campaign to move the library from a small home to a large downtown facility with space for community meetings and a theater. As a member of the county hospital's board of trustees, he worked to build an addition on the hospital in an era when patient beds lined the crowded hallways. Jim also served as president of the Rotary Club, taking holiday baskets to families in crisis. As a member of First Baptist Church of Wadesboro, he sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, and often visited the prison and nursing home to offer comfort to those in need.
He and his family moved to Monroe in 1982 when Bonsal relocated its offices to Charlotte. He quickly became involved in community life. He served on the board of deacons at First Baptist Church of Monroe. As a devoted member of the Benton Heights Lions Club, he was named a Jack Stickley Fellow by the N.C. Lions Foundation for "dedicated humanitarian service." He served on the Union County Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee and delivered Meals on Wheels for many years, even after his eyesight deteriorated and he could no longer drive the route himself.
Most of all, he shared his life with his family. They enjoyed annual vacations to Garden City Beach, where he gathered once again with his brother and sisters, running the sandy trails to the beach in the morning, catching crabs and shrimp in the marsh in the afternoons. Days ended with brilliant evening shows of fireworks, complete with bottle rockets shot from a row of Coca-Cola bottles, a joyous celebration across the dark summer sky.
Trowbridge is survived by his wife, Mrs. Nona Claire E. Trowbridge of the home; daughters, Sara Combs and husband James of Abingdon, Va., Julia Catherine Martin and husband Steve of Wilmington, and Ann Bailes of Clover, S.C.; brother, Frank Trowbridge Jr. of Macon, Ga.; sister; Eleanor Guess of Denmark, S.C.; grandchildren, Mary Claire McGhan, Luke Martin, Carrie Bailes and Nathan Bailes; and great-grandchildren: Logan McGhan and Liam McGhan. The family received friends and relatives for visitation Friday from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. in the First Baptist Church of Monroe.
Memorial services to celebrate the life of James "Jim" Trowbridge were held at 2 p.m. Friday in the First Baptist Church of Monroe conducted by the Rev. Chris Dawson, with entombment to follow in the Lakeland Memorial Park Mausoleum.
The family suggests that memorials be made to First Baptist Church of Monroe, 109 Morrow Avenue, Monroe, NC 28112 or to Hospice of Union County, 700 West Roosevelt Blvd. Monroe, NC 28112.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.mcewenmonroechapel.com.
McEwen Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Monroe is serving the family of Mr. Trowbridge.