Cover photo for Philip Troutt's Obituary
Philip Troutt Profile Photo
1945 Philip 2023

Philip Troutt

October 29, 1945 — September 25, 2023

D. Philip Troutt was born in New Albany, Indiana, on October 29, 1945, and passed away on September 25, 2023, in Placentia, California.  He was the second son of James Bailey and Mary Elizabeth Troutt.

Philip's parents were from small towns and were very traditional, loving, and stern.  They moved the family to Glendale, California, around 1950 when Philip was four, along with his older brother, Lee Douglas, who was five.  They went to the local Church of Christ, where a church member hired JB.  They settled in Norwalk by the time Philip started Kindergarten.  Both parents worked together at the Norwalk Post Office for years and attended the Norwalk Church of Christ.  Doug and Phil were latchkey kids, riding their bikes around town until their parents came home from work.  Philip had a newspaper route as a teen, and he graduated from Excelsior High School in Norwalk in 1964.

Philip's faith in Jesus Christ was a cornerstone of his life.  He grew up in the Church of Christ and later attended various community churches, contributing through choir and Bible studies.  The most productive years of his career were dedicated to nonprofit Christian organizations.  In his twilight years, he turned to online sermons and personal study.

Philip often spoke of two formative events during his childhood and teenage years.

The first was the 1955 premiere of the Mickey Mouse Club when he was nine, igniting a fascination with Zorro.  He kept a Zorro mask under his childhood pillow and put it on every night.  Zorro further sparked a lifelong love of horses, which he cared for and rode for much of his life, finally owning a horse in his 50s.

The second transformative moment was the U.S. appearance of the Beatles in 1964 when he was 18, inspiring him to become a musician.  He played the guitar, bass, and piano casually throughout his life after that and in bands during his military and college years.  He encouraged his children to pursue music as well.

During the Vietnam War, Philip served in the U.S. Army at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., contributing to document security.  As the draft went through his peers, he enlisted, requesting not to be sent into battle.  He was also a proud graduate of Pepperdine University, where he was a radio DJ, graduating with a bachelor's degree in History in the 60s and returning for a second Bachelor's degree in Psychology after his army years in the 70s.

In the years following his army service, the Maranatha Music and Jesus People movement in Southern California touched him.  His faith was renewed at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa under Chuck Smith with his good friend Peter Lechner.

Philip married his wife of 45 years, Evella, in 1974.  Their journey took them to various parts of Southern California, including Norwalk and Anaheim, where he sang with Evella in the choir at Melodyland Christian Center for years and participated in their Broadway-scale Christmas musicals.

He became a father in the late '70s with Melody, born in 1976, and Jeremy, born in 1978.  Then Philip and Evella began the journey of parenthood again with Evan in 1995.

Philip was a grandfather to Ashlynne, Brittany, Caleb, Clara, and Sawyer and a great-grandfather to Kayden.  They and multiple extended family members in Tennessee and Indiana will all miss him.

Some of Melody and Jeremy's childhood memories of Philip are of laying in their bunk beds at night in the early 1980s, Philip playing his guitar and singing Christian rock songs by Chuck Girard and Love Song after reading from Little House on the Prairie and having them recite their memory Bible verses.

Intelligent and a devoted reader, Philip enjoyed the detective tales of Sherlock Holmes, the humor of Mark Twain, and the storytelling of Garrison Keillor, as well as works of theology and History.  He was an artist, often filling pads with sketches of Mickey Mouse and professional lettering.  He had beautifully classical penmanship and liked to write with fountain pens.

Professionally, Philip wore many hats.  He worked as a substitute teacher during the 70s, then at Given, International, with his good friend Ed Artigue.  He was a shoe department manager at Montgomery Ward before starting his sign-painting business, Philip Troutt Sign Graphics.  Mr. Troutt had a small shop on Rosecrans Boulevard in Norwalk where he would design signs with mechanical pencils and T squares while listening to a cassette of Chariots of Fire on the Hi-Fi.

His most enduring professional legacy was undoubtedly as a leader in California's homeschooling community.  In the spring of 1981, he and Evella decided to homeschool their children.  Later that year, in August 1981, They heard the now-famous episode of "Focus on the Family" about homeschooling.  Soon, he began the journey toward his two significant career accomplishments: first dedicating nearly three decades as the Executive Director of CHEA, the Christian Home Educators Association of California, and second, alongside Evella, co-founding Keystone Academy in 1986, a K-12 institution for independent study with a Christian worldview.  His work and vision influenced thousands of families in the '80s, '90s, and 2000s.  He appeared on the radio and television multiple times to discuss homeschooling in the 80s and 90s.  Keystone Academy is now led by Tom & Janene Gerl, and Evella continues to mentor there.

One of the year's most anticipated events was the annual CHEA convention.  This event often occurred at the Disneyland Hotel, where Philip would appear in front of thousands, dressed in a white suit inspired by Mark Twain.  Disneyland held a special place in his life; in his youth, he worked on the Autopia and later on the Submarines.

He made two runs for city council in Norwalk in the 1980s but was not successfully elected.  He served the city on the Blue Ribbon Committee to the City of Norwalk.

In 1985, after a year of debilitating vertigo, Philip was diagnosed with a tumor on his hearing nerve, which was surgically removed.  The doctors told him that if the surgery succeeded, he would still be deaf or paralyzed on that side.  He was deaf in his right ear for the rest of his life, an invisible disability sometimes forgotten even by those who lived with him.  He joked that he might start wearing an eyepatch over his ear.

Following that, he struggled for years with clinical depression and sleeplessness, seeking stability and help from his faith, his family, and his doctors at the VA.

After the CHEA years, Philip worked for Shell Vacation Club for two years before retiring.

Philip was complex, embodying values and contradictions, family and independence, gregariousness and isolation.  On more than one occasion, he offended or made uncomfortable essential people in his life without being aware of it or understanding why, while also being able to maintain a network of friendly contacts all over the country for decades.  He sought to meet the world on his terms, leading others where he could and identifying principles to which he could encourage others to aspire.

In his 70s, following a divorce from Evella in 2018, Philip lived in a Veterans' apartment community in Placentia.  He dealt with health issues and loneliness while seeking a new approach to his days that he would find fulfilling.  He made friends with other Veterans who lived there, kept in touch with his family, and listened to sermons on his laptop.  He said he frequently dreamed that his brother Doug, who died fifty years ago this year, was in the room with him.

Now we lay him to rest, with the belief and hope that as we lay him alongside his parents and brother, he is united with them elsewhere, in the presence of his Creator.  Rest in eternal peace, Dad, Granddad, and Great Granddad.

Thank you for remembering and celebrating Philip's life with us.  In lieu of flowers, and in memory of Philip, please consider donating to the Keystone Parent Association (KPA) at P.O. Box 1888, Norwalk, CA 90650

 


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