Eric Thompson Trotter was born in Masham, Yorkshire, England in 1905 and emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1908 to a farm at Little Souris, Manitoba. In 1917 the family moved to a farm at Alonsa, Manitoba where Eric completed his schooling. He took the Diploma Course in Agriculture at the University of Manitoba from 1929-1931, graduating with the Governor General’s medal and the James D. MacGregor gold watch for highest grade in animal husbandry.
Eric was employed as a division manager at the Selkirk Mental Hospital farm from 1932-1942. In 1938 he married Margaret Goodbrand, a psychiatric nurse at the hospital. They moved to Belmont, Manitoba in 1943 with their infant son, Brian. Annetta (Nelson) and Patricia (Austin) were born in 1944 and 1948.
Eric’s motto in life was taken from the poem, Abou Ben Adhem, by Leigh Hunt: “I pray thee, then, write me as one that loves his fellow-men”. His involvement in his church and community attests to his living his motto: be it Boy Scouts, the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance or 4-H.
He was an active member of the IOOF Lodge #39, which initiated many projects to improve the community. The Lodge sponsored the 4-H Calf Club, which Eric was instrumental in starting in 1944, and was a leader for 25 years. Correct parliamentary procedure, debating, and public speaking were pillars in his leadership, which influenced many of the members to further their education and to become community leaders. Eric was appointed to the 4-H Council for Manitoba from 1965-1970. In recognition of his dedicated leadership to 4-H he was awarded a “Know Manitoba Better” trip in 1969.
In 1973 Eric was awarded a Manitoba Agricultural Societies Honourary Life membership for long and meritorious service to the Pelican Lake Agricultural Society.
Because of his inspiration and leadership a seniors’ complex, Strathcona Belcrest Manor Inc., was opened in 1976. He was president until 1984.
Always open to new ideas and techniques, Eric and Brian used expertise from the Department of Agriculture to make the farm a viable operation for two families. Brian and Sheila are still actively farming at Belmont.
On his retirement he travelled to overseas countries, took pictures and gathered information on living conditions and agricultural practices, and made presentations on his return.
Eric is remembered as a gentle man who always provided positive reinforcement. He was one of those rare individuals who “builded better than he knew.”