Attorney Richard Troutman might not have gone into the legal profession were it not for his father, Russell, who passed away on May 27, 2015. Russell Troutman was a champion for those who were less fortunate. He helped create the Legal Aid Society in the 1960s - an organization that helps make sure everyone has access to legal assistance, regardless of their income or position in society.
Growing up in Central Florida, Richard Troutman would hear stories about how his dad helped other people facing a variety of legal challenges. Inspired by his father, Richard Troutman went to law school and then founded the Law Offices of Richard B. Troutman, P.A.
As Richard tells a reporter in the Orlando Sentinel story that follows, "I realized my dad, from the time I could walk, trained me to be a lawyer. ... He would come home and tell me about cases when I was 6, 7 years old."
Russell Troutman left his mark not only on Richard, but on the Central Florida community as a whole. He will be deeply missed.
Attorney was fierce advocate for poor
The following is an abridged version of the May 29, 2015, Orlando Sentinel story:
Richard Troutman never wanted to be a lawyer. But after years of informal training from his father, he realized he couldn't do anything else.
Russell Troutman was a bit of a local celebrity as past president of Orange County Bar, The Florida Bar and the Legal Aid Society, which he helped create in the 1960s as a way to ensure access to legal assistance to everyone. He also had his own Winter Park law firm.
Troutman's vocation was his passion, and his hands - Dictaphone in one, yellow notepad in the other - were symbols of his ceaseless work ethic.
"He was either dictating or writing or preparing for something. I didn't really see him having a lot of fun," Richard Troutman said. "I didn't get the feeling he was working for money.
"I got the feeling he was working for justice."
Russell Troutman died May 27 of Alzheimer's disease. He was 81. He had earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for people with limited means.
"He felt like he was required by God to take care of the less fortunate," Richard Troutman said of his father, who read the Bible often. "His hero was Abraham Lincoln. He always quoted Abraham Lincoln, and he really felt like the legal system was the most important regulatory agency in our country."
As he narrated the beliefs that inspired his father's career in the field Richard Troutman never imagined he'd enter, he sat in a desk chair in his own Winter Park law firm.
"I realized my dad, from the time I could walk, trained me to be a lawyer," Richard Troutman said. "He would come home and tell me about cases when I was 6, 7 years old."
Former Bar President Troutman passes away
The following is an abridged version of The Florida Bar News story about Russell Troutman:
"Right to trial by jury.
"Rights of the people.
"A counter to unwarranted criticism of lawyers.
"Those are the causes etched deeply within Russell Troutman."
That's how former Journal/News Editor Linda Yates began the profile of Troutman, the 1977-78 president of The Florida Bar. His career and activities stretched from being shanghaied in courtroom halls to represent indigents on short notice to bungee jumping in New Zealand in his 60s.
A native of West Virginia and the son of a doctor, Troutman attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, graduating with a degree in journalism in 1955 after being managing editor of the school newspaper. That turned out to be a momentous year. He had married his wife, Pat, whom he had known since they were in the first grade in Page, WV, the previous year, and in 1955, their first son was born, his father died, and they moved to Miami where Troutman attended the law school at the University of Miami.
In a 2008 speech to the 50-Year Member Luncheon at the Bar's Annual Convention, Troutman said his generation, which he called the children of the "Greatest Generation," succeeded in pushing the boundaries of justice and civil rights, providing opportunities for people who had faced race, ethnic, or gender bias.
"We set our ideals high, and it is the burden of each generation to strive for those ideals to right the wrongs that still exist. Our generation lived up to that responsibility by enlarging civil rights implicit in our Constitution all along. It is indisputable life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has broader meaning today than it did in 1958 when we began our careers," Troutman said in his speech, adding the challenges were not over.