Former Gettysburg Mayor Bill Troxell is being remembered as a leader, neighbor, and beloved family member after his death Thursday at 93.
Troxell, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, served as mayor from 2000 to 2016 and on the borough council beginning in 1991.
“We are proud of his service to our country and his dedication to Gettysburg,” which he frequently called “America’s Most Famous Small Town,” according a statement his family issued Thursday.
“We are heartbroken about the passing of Bill after his recent illness. He was a great father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who brought wisdom and great joy to our family. We loved him very much and will cherish the moments we spent with him. Among other things, we will miss his love, story-telling, and leadership,” the statement reads.
“We know that many share our sadness today. Our family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and would respectfully ask for privacy as we mourn this loss,” according to the statement.
William E. Troxell, 93, of Gettysburg, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, at Gettysburg…
Those who knew the mayor only in his public role may not have been aware of the kindly mischief in his nature, daughter Penny Troxell Monforte said Friday.
“He had a silly side to him” and “loved a good prank,” she said, as illustrated by a couple of Christmas memories.
As a child, she recalled hearing a bell outside and her father saying it was Santa, who wouldn’t be able to deliver gifts until she was asleep. Of course, she said, it was her dad ringing the bell. Much later, she remembered him saying he had a special present for her. “He had gift-wrapped my daughter in a cardboard box,” she said.
That playfulness was balanced by wisdom, but “now all that knowledge is going to disappear,” Monforte said.
He was also “honest,” “selfless,” and “so considerate” of other people, she said.
“He put everybody else first,” Monforte said
Troxell “was the best,” neighbor and borough council member Patricia Lawson wrote in an email.
“I miss Bill and (his late wife) Honey every day. Having lived next door to them for 22 years they were wonderful and always reminded me of my own parents, especially when Bill would listen to Big Band swing music on his porch in the summer nights. Just like my dad,” Lawson wrote.
“They were so kind and honorable. He will be missed, but they will be together for Christmas, Honey’s favorite holiday,” she wrote. Ellen Virginia “Honey” Troxell, the mayor’s wife of 68 years, died in December 2018.
Troxell, whose ancestor John Troxell Sr. is recognized as Gettysburg’s first settler, represented the fifth generation of his family to serve in the borough’s government.
Troxell was “a good father figure for everybody” at the borough hall, said John Lawver, who has served the borough for 29 years as an employee, borough manager, and council member.
The mayor was “a good person to have around” because he would constantly “remind people to make decisions for the good of the borough,” Lawver said Friday.
He praised Troxell as a strong advocate for the borough’s downtown area, and said the mayor’s greatest accomplishment in office may have been his response when big-box stores began affecting downtown retailers. Troxell worked with state officials and others to secure funding that helped restore downtown landmarks and establish the Racehorse Alley parking garage.
Lawver said he will miss Troxell’s “leadership” and “mentorship.”
“I’ll also just miss him as a friend,” Lawver said.