Celebrating the life of Walter H. Trench
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Walter was born on April 12, 1938 to Emma Elizabeth Brogges Trench and Robert Butterfield Trench in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in the small town of Westwood, New Jersey where, as a child, he enjoyed riding his bike, and as a teenager found a lifelong love of driving with his first Model-T.
Walter was a man firm in his convictions. He believed in equality among all people and often wrote about his views in short stories, poetry, or opinion pieces for the newspaper. He attended civil rights marches and proudly recalled his time as a conscientious objector. He believed in doing the right thing always, and thought deeply and critically about everything he did.
Walter was a voracious reader, a writer, and a life-long learner. He valued the written word more than anything except his family, and thought that whose didn’t read were “going through life blind.” He thought
Walter married Roberta Trench on Valentine’s Day in 1988. He adored his wife until the end of his days, taking on the responsibility of being Roberta’s sole caretaker when she became disabled in January 2008. Roberta was quite literally, the girl next door, as they were neighbors when they met. He'd recall their love story with fondness. How they said 'I love you' on their first date, and had their first kiss at a stop sign on route 67 in upstate New York. He kissed her at the first stop sign, they drove until they reached the next, she kissed him back. From then on, with each drive home, they would pause a few seconds longer at two stop signs. One kiss for each sign. And say 'i love you, ' all over again.
Walter was an introvert, often finding solace with his wife, and children, or alone while studying his other loves: ham radio, genealogy, and archaeology. He loved to communicate with others, learn about his own history, and was fascinated by the lives of those who came before us. He spent hours, days, and years digging up a buried foundation he found while noticing an unnatural outline in the grass on his property. He began with the corners of that line, and eventually found shards of pottery, glass, and tools beneath his shovel. All remnants of lives long past.
He spent his free time sanding down the tools until he found their shape, or washing the glass that he'd delicately glue back together. His office was filled to the brim with pots lined with cracks and gaping holes, and the remnants of someone else's life. Static from his amateur radio often hummed below the sound of his Turner Classic Movies. The soundtrack of his office played like a mixture of old black and white films and the gentle 'didit's' and 'dah's' of old morse code.
As a self-confessed hermit, Walter didn't spend his time with many people. He may not have been loved widely, but he was loved very deeply. We will miss him and his loyalty, passion, stubbornness, and honesty.
In the words of J.K Rowling, whom he respected and loved:
“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
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