Bud Troxler: A life in pictures

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 20, 2011

Not many people in Rowan County can say they graduated from Altamahaw-Ossippee High School.
Not many people can say Altamahaw-Ossippee.
But Bud Troxler of Salisbury can do both. Going through old photographs recently reminded of him of growing up in Alamance County, working on the family dairy farm and graduating from Altamahaw-Ossippee.
“The guy selling class rings had a hell of a time,” Bud says.
The photos cover his life from ages 2 to 84, Bud says, and they bring back great memories.
His pony, “Pet,” seems to be posing for the photographer in the earliest photo. In front of Pet, Bud sits in his sister Mildred’s lap, with brother Donald sitting beside her.
The next photo shows “Buddy” — Bud’s real name is Roger V. — sitting with his mother and siblings Keith and Betty Jean on the rocks at Ossippee Dam. The Troxler family included 10 children all told, seven boys and three girls. Bud was the next-to-youngest boy.
“My daddy built everything from start to finish,” Bud says. His projects included a rock seat he and son Thurman built in the yard. Bud wears knickers in this family photo.
Everyone had a job to do on the Troxler farm — usually several jobs. Bud says he started helping to feed the cows when he was 2. A photo from around 1942 shows a bare-chested Bud working a field on the family farm, walking somewhat somberly behind the horse pulling the planter. Kerr Scott, who later became governor of North Carolina, was the county agent and a good friend of the family.
Bud didn’t always wear cut-offs, as evidenced by the coat and tie he wears as a young man in a couple of photos.
All seven brothers graduated from college, the first two from Duke and Lenoir-Rhyne, the rest from N.C. State. At one point, four boys and one girl were in college at the same time. One of Bud’s brothers said their father would chop wood and sell it — do whatever he had to do — to pay for college.
As the mother of 10, Mabel Troxler had her hands full. “She was the most industrious person you’ve ever seen,” Bud says.
She died of pneumonia at the age of 49. “I thought she was old,” says the 84-year-old Bud.
Bud was too young to enlist when World War II started, but four of his brothers served in the Army during the war. R.T. stayed stateside, transporting planes and equipment. Following Rommel, Red went across North Africa and into Italy. Thurman was in the South Pacific in a non-combat role. Frank was shot down in his 23rd flight over Germany. He was a prisoner of war for 13 months in Stalag 17B in Austria, sustained by food packages from humanitarian groups. “He said he felt that the Red Cross saved his life,” Bud says.
While at State College — now N.C. State — Bud met wife Tomie, and they were married on March 18, 1950. They would have two daughters.
In 1952, the Troxlers moved to Rowan County so Bud could sell farm equipment with his brother Red at Southern Implement. Red had been the county agent in Stanly County, according to Bud, and got to know the Allis Chalmers dealers in Concord. They started the Rowan County dealership together — the Troxlers and the Concord group. Bud and Red bought out the others in 1952.
A lot has happened since then, of course — work, family, building apartments, painting pictures (though Tomie is the trained artist of the two), retiring, doting on their five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
And fishing. A photo of Bud holding up a catch from Fripp Island shows how much he enjoys that.
But it was seeing the photos from his Altamahaw-Ossippee days that got Bud going. No matter how many years you live, it’s the early ones that shape your character — and in Bud’s case, warm your heart.
Contact Elizabeth Cook at editor@salisburypost.com or 704-797-4244.