Dr. Joe Troll passed away June 16, 2015. He was a mentor, friend, teacher, advisor, researcher, husband, father, grandfather and many other titles to those who knew him.
Joe and his wonderful wife, Lonnie, were married for 71 years. They married when Joe was in the U.S. Navy where he enlisted when he was 17 years old. He was stationed in the North Atlantic and rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
He was a fifty-year member of the GCSA of New England and the recipient of the Association’s Distinguished Service Award. The Canadian Golf Course Superintendents Association also awarded him their Distinguished Service Award. His importance to the industry was further acknowledged by the United States Golf Association when they awarded him their Green Section Award, one of the most prestigious awards in golf. He was inducted into the Western Massachusetts Golf Hall of fame in 2013.
He had many accomplishments as a professor of Agronomy at the University of Massachusetts, but his biggest thrill and proudest moments came from teaching students. He was so proud of the students that went on to careers in the green industry. And in conversation would remark how someone who had just received some notoriety was one of his students at UMass. As former student Al Wilson said, “No matter who you were, he was the teacher that could find something good in what you were doing.”
Joe was a prime mover for turf research at UMass and was the driving force behind the research facility established in South Deerfield, MA. The facility was named in his honor and Joe was very proud of what his untiring efforts had accomplished.
Joe influenced how golf courses were maintained and he had an effect on the world of golf course maintenance. As Tom Alex, a former student, now a superintendent in Florida, said about Dr. Troll, “He was one of those pioneers that created the conditions of the way we do business today.”
I first met Joe when I was a student at the UMass Winter School in 1968. I had heard about Joe and his influence in the world of golf course maintenance and was excited to meet him. He was every bit all I had heard about him, and then some. He was an inspiring individual, a wonderful person - a giant! Someone I’ll never forget.
Russ Held, sports writer for the Springfield Republican and long-time reporter of the western Massachusetts golf scene wrote a nice article about Dr. Troll and there are quotes from those who knew him well that added to the level of affection and esteem at which Joe was held. To read this article, please click Dr. Joe Troll.
In lieu of flowers Dr. Troll’s family has asked that memorial donations in
Dr. Troll’s name be made to the Troll Turfgrass Fund.
Checks should be made out to the University of Massachusetts and sent to:
Records & Gift Processing
134 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9270
Mass will be July 7th at St Marks the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 7081 SE Hwy 42, Summerfield, Florida. There will be a repass after the service in a separate building behind the church.
By Don Hearn