Tucked in the obituaries in today’s Worthington Daily Globe is the story of John and Beverly Troth, who were both 95 years old when they died eight hours apart on Monday.
Death is no fun — especially deaths via pneumonia, of course — but this is how love stories should end.
They were married for almost 66 years.
John and Beverly Troth, both age 95, died February 20. Beverly died in the early afternoon at Sanford Medical Center after being admitted to the hospital the day before with pneumonia. John died eight hours later of natural causes in the nursing wing of Dow Rummel Village, where he and Beverly both lived.
John was born October 28, 1921, in New Underwood, South Dakota. He grew up on a farm outside New Underwood with his two brothers and two sisters, and graduated from high school in Rapid City, where he earned his room and board helping with the upkeep of his landlord’s house.
After high school, he helped his father run the farm until he joined the Army Air Force during World War II. He was sent to flight training at Carroll College (now Carroll University) in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he met his future wife, Beverly Hogan, at a college dance. He washed out at the very end of flight training when his depth perception was tested and found to be nearly non-existent. He was sent to the South Pacific where he loaded supplies and armaments on the aircraft.
Beverly Elaine Hogan was born in Racine, Wisconsin, on July 17, 1921. She was the youngest of the five children of a Congregational minister and his wife, and graduated from high school in Racine. She graduated from Carroll College in 1944, and spent the next seven years teaching high school English and history in East Troy and Plymouth, Wisconsin.
John and Beverly corresponded throughout the war and afterwards, when John took advantage of the GI bill and attended South Dakota State University. His plans to become a high school agriculture teacher went awry after student teaching convinced him that he could not relate to the students, and he took a job as the county agent in Woonsocket, South Dakota, after graduation.
John and Beverly married on July 12, 1951. Soon thereafter, they moved to Mitchell, South Dakota, where John became the agricultural agent for the Mitchell National Bank. John and Beverly’s two daughters, Audrey Grace and Becky Kay, were born in Mitchell.
John eventually became an assistant vice president of the bank, and in 1968, joined a group of men who applied for a national bank charter for a new bank in Mitchell. Senator George McGovern sponsored the application, which President Johnson denied, purportedly because he was unhappy with Senator McGovern’s opposition to the Vietnam War.
The family then moved for a year and a half to Mora, Minnesota, where John was the president of the Kanabec State Bank. In 1970, the family moved to Worthington, Minnesota, and John served as president of the Worthington State Bank.
He retired from banking in 1986. John truly believed in banking as a community service, and used his position to help as many people as he could. He also actively promoted the careers of women and people of color in the bank, encouraging his employees to take opportunities they were not inclined to pursue.
John and Beverly lived in Worthington until 1994, when they moved to Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. During the first 18 years of their time at Dow Rummel, the couple would drive down to Ft. Meyers and later, Naples, Florida, for the coldest months of the winter. They also traveled extensively, often with good friends from Worthington, including the Hedeens and the Heggs. Their travels included trips to Hawaii, Egypt, Australia, Ireland, England, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Germany.
John and Beverly were active in a number of civic activities over the course of their long lives. Beverly was an officer and active member of PEO in Mitchell, Worthington and Sioux Falls, and participated in 8:30 Club and church activities at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington.
Beverly was a terrific cook and gracious hostess, entertaining friends and family beautifully and often. John was an officer of the Worthington Chamber of Commerce, served on the board of the Lakeview School in Worthington for children with disabilities, and was a volunteer in the Big Brothers Program. John was a staunch Democrat, which was not the usual party affiliation of a banker, and his small campaign contribution to George McGovern when he walked into the bank in 1956 led to a lifelong friendship.
John continued to campaign for Democratic candidates after he moved to Dow Rummel, canvassing his neighbors in support of Barack Obama. Beverly and John also volunteered as ESL tutors with Lutheran Social Services in Sioux Falls.
John and Beverly are survived by their daughter Becky Troth, her husband Chris Wright (both lawyers in Washington, D.C.), and their children, David Troth Wright of Brooklyn, New York, and Katherine Troth Wright of Bethesda, Maryland.
John and Beverly’s daughter, Dr. Audrey Troth Alexander, a resident in internal medicine at the University of New Mexico, died in 1979. John’s brothers Robert and William Troth and his sisters, Phyllis Johnson and Marjorie Trevillyan, all predeceased him. Beverly’s brother, Del Hogan, and her three sisters, Grace Freeman, Muriel Vandegrift, and Audrey Bebb, also predeceased her.
A service will be held in the Halladay-Peterson Chapel at Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 24. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be directed to Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls, where Beverly and John received such loving care for over 22 years, or St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota.