John R.S. Trotter, 93, National Brewing Co. pilot

December 07, 2004

John R. S. Trotter, a pilot who flew the old National Brewing Co.'s executive aircraft for more than two decades, died of heart failure Friday at his Arnold home. He was 93.

Mr. Trotter was born in Baltimore and raised in Roland Park. He was a 1929 graduate of City College and began taking flying lessons during the late 1920s and early 1930s.

After his 1941 marriage to the former Ruth Kitchin, the newlyweds took off for a flying honeymoon.

"They were in a J-3 Piper Cub, and the deal was if they used Gulf gasoline, the Gulf Oil Co. would pay for it. However, while heading for Miami, Dad got lost," said his son, Robert F. Trotter Sr. of Davidsonville, a retired career Army officer.

Mr. Trotter's wife died in 1986.

During World War II, Mr. Trotter served as a Navy flight instructor and flew transports in the Pacific. After the war, he returned to Baltimore and took a job with Henson Aviation as an instructor-pilot and directed its instrument ground school.

In 1952, he went to work for the National Brewing Co. and shuttled its president, Jerold C. Hoffberger, between Baltimore and the company's breweries in Detroit and Phoenix. The last plane he piloted for the company before retiring in 1974 was a jet-powered Sabre Liner.

Mr. Trotter was a member for more than a half-century of the Baltimore Quiet Birdmen aviation fraternity. He also enjoyed sailing and was a member of the Glen Burnie Masonic Lodge, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He was a member of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 1601 Pleasant Plains Road, Annapolis, where services will be held at 10 a.m. today.

Surviving, in addition to his son, are a daughter, Elizabeth Trotter Rucker of Arnold; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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