Robert M. “Bob” Troxell, Lancaster, passed away peacefully on February 27, 2023. “Trox” was widely known for his decades of leading the Bob Troxell Big Big Jazz Band at scores of performances for fundraising and human service organizations in the Lancaster area. Born in Danville, PA on April 25, 1923, he was the son of the late Merrill Troxell and Nelly (Dockey) Troxell. He was the spouse of Katherine B. Troxell, who preceded him in death in 2021 after 70 years of marriage.
Raised in Shamokin, PA, Troxell was active in sports and music. He attended Penn State after graduation, but his academic career was put on hold when he enlisted in the Naval Air Corps Flight Training program in 1942 during World War II. After completing one year of pilot training, he later became an Aerographers Mate 3/c where he assisted with weather forecasting, primarily off the East Coast and in the Caribbean.
Following the war, Trox returned to Penn State in 1946 where he earned a BS in Industrial Engineering in 1948. While at Penn State he was elected president of Acacia Fraternity, vice president of the All-College Student Government Association, and Lion’s Paw, a men’s senior honorary organization. He also played in the Blue Band, as well as several jazz bands as he worked his way through college.
Troxell was employed his entire career (1948-1989) by Armstrong Cork (World Industries) Company. He had assignments at manufacturing plants in Pittsburgh, PA; Macon, GA; and Braintree, MA before he was transferred to Lancaster, PA in 1957 as Manager of Industrial Engineering for Floor and Industry Products. He had various roles throughout his time in Lancaster including leading the company-wide development of computer disaster recovery plans, as well as working as an instructor in the quality process that Armstrong implemented, which led to more effective operations throughout the company.
He was very active in the Lancaster community. He was a fund solicitor for the United Fund and on behalf of the YMCA and YWCA. The Big Big Jazz Band, and its accompanying Dixieland Connection, played well over hundreds of fund-raising events for over 40 years. It is estimated that they helped raise over one million dollars for those organizations. They also played numerous jazz worship services as part of the Lancaster Summer Arts Festival at First United Methodist Church, where Troxell was an active member, and several other houses of worship around Lancaster. Trox will be remembered for his trademark plaid pants that he wore when leading the Big Band.
Trox’s love of music, and his desire to instill that love in younger generations, led him to help with local jazz bands at Lancaster Bible College and local high schools. Two of his favorite expressions were “Keep your powder dry” and “Hang by your thumbs and write if you get work.” Trox was known for his quick wit, which he displayed until the end, having his children and grandchildren laughing at his bedside.
Bob is survived by a daughter, Merrill K. (Judi Skilton Horry), Charleston, SC, and a son, Robert B. (Diane Martin), Lititz, as well as 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A private service is planned for the family.