Published Thursday, February 14, 2013
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
As the Coweta Community Foundation partners with the American Red Cross for the Big Give event today at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts, many people will be thinking about Dr. Gerald S. Troutman.
Troutman, a Lutheran minister and bishop who spent his retirement working with a wide range of projects in Coweta, died in October. This year’s Big Give, the second annual event, pays tribute to Troutman, who was a Coweta Community Foundation board member.
The drive will be held from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Centre on Lower Fayetteville Road. This year’s highlighted charity is the Community Welcome House.
Coweta residents are encouraged to give blood at the event, as well as donate non-perishable food and paper products to needy Cowetans.
Troutman, a native North Carolinian and son of a Lutheran pastor, rose to the rank of bishop before retiring in 1996 and moving back to his wife’s hometown. In Newnan, he became active in a wide range of community projects while continuing to raise funds for Lutheran ministerial students and – on occasion – serving as pastor to the community at large.
Troutman was the last bishop of the Southeastern Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. In 1988, the LCA merged with two other groups to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
“There probably was not a more beloved person in the church than Jerry was,” Julian Gordy, the Newnan native who is now bishop for the ELCA’s Southeastern Synod, said shortly after Troutman’s death. “He had this real gentleness. I don’t guess there was anybody who loved the church more – or the people in it. With Jerry, it was always about the people.”
Troutman was a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., where he attended on a football scholarship and earned a master of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C.; clinical pastoral education certification at Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta; and a doctor of ministry degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
Troutman held an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Newberry College, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary presented Troutman with the Dr. J. Luther Mauney Leadership Award. He was particularly pleased when Lenoir-Rhyne University presented him with the 2009 Alumnus of the Year Award.
Troutman served as pastor of congregations in Greeneville, Tenn., and Atlanta. Before becoming bishop, he also served as secretary and president of the LCA’s Southeastern Synod of the Lutheran Church in America.
Troutman served on the staff of the Division for Ministry and Synodical Relations of the ELCA and as director of development for Lutheran Ministries of Georgia.
He was an interim/ transition pastor in several congregations – including Resurrection Lutheran Church on Highway 34 in Coweta County, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta, St. Timothy Lutheran in Forest Park, and Advent Lutheran in LaGrange.
In 2009, Troutman was honored by the ELCA’s Southeastern Synod when he was named Bishop Emeritus.
Locally, Troutman was a member of the Newnan Rotary Club and the Coweta Press Club, for whom he presented scholarships. He was grand marshal one year for the July 4 parade in Newnan.
He was a member of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, chairing the chamber’s convention center task force. Troutman also served on the board of the Keith Brooking Children’s Foundation and was active with Resource Coweta, a coalition of helping organizations and ministries.
Troutman was a graduate of Leadership Coweta and had served as a chaplain for police and fire departments and held leadership in school, youth sports and civic organizations.
At age 78, Dr. Troutman was proud and excited to give blood at last year’s Big Give. Appointments can be scheduled on line by visiting www.redcrossblood.org clicking “make a donation” and using the sponsor code “cowetacf.”
Dr. Marihope Shirey Troutman, retired local educator, and the longtime Lutheran leader had been married 52 years at the time of his death.
CCF’s funding interests include, but are not limited to, women’s and children’s issues, public safety, education, and the arts. CCF maintains a broad and ongoing grants program which does not discriminate with regard to race, sex, religion, national origin, handicap, familial status or age.
Established in 1997 by the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, CCF exists to help make the quality of life better for all Coweta County citizens. The 501(c)3 organization is governed by an entirely volunteer-staffed board of directors.
The foundation’s primary goal is to accept, manage and disperse gifts and bequests from individuals, organizations, corporations, and estates.