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James E. Trochlell
September 30, 1959 - December 7, 2012

James E. Trochlell

James E. Trochlell
Sep 30, 1959 - Dec 7, 2012

James E. Trochlell
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Madison - James E. Trochlell, age 53, was born on September 30, 1959 to James W. and Mary (Lison) Trochlell in Green Bay. He worked as an engineering technician at the UW Hospital in Madison. Jim loved to work on big projects - and above all, loved his dog, Sparky, and especially all his brothers and sisters. Building up a big wood pile for his stove was his past-time. He was always willing to lend a helping hand even to complete strangers. Being in the tip of a tree with ropes and saw was his idea of a great day. Jim biked everywhere and met his end (and died of a massive coronary) on the bike path on his way to get Sparky - always the high point of his day. Jim is survived by his devoted dog, Sparky; siblings, Kathy Trochlell, Tom (Laura) Trochlell, Dan (Dawn) Trochlell, Cindy (Tom) Jocz and Amy Cobb; his Uncle John Ottinger and Aunt Peggy Lison, and Uncle Johnny Lison; his step-father, John Cobb; many nieces and nephews; and his special Madison friends. He was preceded in death by his parents. We will miss him so much...

Liz Vowles on Dec 14, 2017

Wild ice on Lake Wingra...again....December 2017.

Peggy on Dec 8, 2017

The owls are calling for you Jim. Love the heart sign you sent Cindy! Miss you millions.
Much love from Sparky and me!!!!

Aunt Peggy on Sep 30, 2017

Well Happy birthday Jim. I can never believe you are gone. I always think I see you on a bike or in a Honda fit. Both Sparky and I miss you more than you can imagine.
I also agree with Don's view. You would be crazed by the state of the nation.
I hope you are safe and some where happier than here. But I do remember you gleeful laugh and playing dominos etc. Miss ya Jim Much love from Sparky and me.

Don Smith on Jan 26, 2017

Hi Jimmer,
Not that I'm glad you aren't here, but you'd be so frustrated, disgusted, and hurt by the direction this state and this country have taken, and now Trump is president, yeah, I still can't believe it. So much apathy, ignorance, and general lack of humanity, and it will only get worse unless people start to care for one another. That's where you come in. I know you're gone but you cared, you were an inspiration to others and we need more people like you. You are missed more than you ever thought possible. Don

Aunt Peggy on Dec 6, 2016

Wow Jim sometimes I think you are still going to show up! I'll see someone riding a bike and think it looks like you. When I see a blue Honda fit I think you should get out.
We think and talk about you lots. Sparky sez "I wanna play with Jim" All our love
from Sparky and me.

Liz Vowles on Jan 3, 2016

Lake Wingra frozen solid--wild ice--beautiful.

Peggy and Sparky on Dec 7, 2015

Hi Jim, Thinking of you and all the years and memories we shared!!!
Going out to walk The Sparky right now. She still misses jumping around with you.
Will make your annual bonfire tonight and dream of you. Love from Peggy and Sparky

Aunt Peggy and Sparky on Sep 30, 2015

Hi Jim,

I hope you are 45 and riding your bike with Sparky by your side somewhere. Missing you more than anybody can imagine. Sparky and I are thinking of you!!!
All our love. Ms P and Sparky

Don Smith on Oct 9, 2014

Hi Jim,

I still can't believe you're gone. Whether or not people post here, you are remembered and missed by many.

The gathering at your home after you passed made me wish I had gotten to know you better. That's the way life seems to go sometimes, we place too much emphasis on tomorrow and not enough on today.

Donna's mom passed awhile back, you'd like her and she'd have liked you. Donna and I staged a fake wedding before she died so she could go without feeling Donna was all alone. First we staged a fake engagement but she hung on and continued to ask when the wedding was going to happen (a dog with a bone she was), so we got some friends and family together and did the wedding thing at her nursing home. She passed happy I think.

Well, you know how the recall went, hopefully this next election cycle will put things right. We could use you and that traffic cone of yours up on the square.

Peggy and Sparky on Sep 30, 2014

Hi Jim, Happy birthday from me and Sparky!!!
Sparky sends many wiggles, woofs, and twitters your way.
I wish I was baking the apricot bread for you and handing over 50 red tulips too. The whole neighborhood still misses you tons and me right along with them. Miss cribbage, gardening and swimming with you just to name a few things. Love ya millions forever and will miss you forever too. greetings and peace Jim from Peggy and Sparky!!!

Mia Morrisette on Jul 1, 2014

Two weeks ago, I was walking with a friend on the bike path near campus and what did I see on the pavement? VOTE! Thanks Jim!

Scott Clippinger on Jan 27, 2014

Still miss you Jim!

Don Smith on Jan 21, 2014

You are a hard act to follow my friend, wish we were better friends.

Aunt Peggy Uncle John on Dec 7, 2013

CandleJim Still miss you tons. It's wild ice today -we know you would be skating out there!! We will drink a toast of your Opus magnum mead to you around the bon fire and Sparky will sing you a good song. I think your owls will be singing with her. Can't believe one year. xoxxo
Sending all our love Peggy John and Sparky

Liz Vowles on Dec 7, 2013

It still sucks, Jim

Peggy on Sep 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Jim!!!

We miss you more than ever, in unexpected ways.
Still hoping to see your head bobbing around the corner of the house to get Sparky. I planted 100 tulips for your birthday for you -so we will see them next spring.

I hope there is a lot of wood to split and a nice red merle at your side where ever you are!!!

Lots of love and hugs from Peggy and John and a thousand licks and kisses from Sparky!!!

Don Smith on Feb 7, 2013

Time passes, memories fade, but the feelings of loss remains.

CINDY JOCZ on Jan 11, 2013


john-jim/rebecca on Jan 9, 2013

Aunt Peggy Uncle John and Sparky on Jan 7, 2013

Take a walk on the lake, feed the birds, play with your dog, visit and help a friend, Light a candle tonight for Jim. One month today.

Jim we are missing you so much. Miss seeing you at 5 when you came for Sparky, Miss sharing a meal or story, and miss our domino games too. Your lakes are freezing up and we can see you on your bike or skating away. We have been seeing sundogs in the sky. Our sign from you to us. All our love Peggy John and Sparky

Liz on Jan 6, 2013

Jennifer, Jim fell just west of the path down to the Lakeshore Path Behind Liz' Waters Dormitory. At the bottom of the Liz' waters path is a deck on the water, and some bike racks. There's a tree a few feet from of bike rakes to the west. It's just a few feet past the tree about 6. That is where they found him

Bonita Price on Dec 25, 2012

I met Jim after my grandson lost his life in a motorcycle accident. Only knew him for days and felt that he was a real nice guy. I was glad he was there to support his brother and family at this time. Couldn't help noticing how much Jim and his brother Tom looked alike. Never expected to be writing this a few years later. There are angels walking among us, and it sounds like Jim is one of them.

Don Smith on Dec 24, 2012

It's been a hectic couple of weeks since Jimmer passed, but I wanted to thank you all for a the gathering at Jim's house. Jim has a great bunch of friends and family, from the people who made it there it was obvious Jim was loved and held in high regard. I like you wish we could have had more time on this earth with him. I couldn't make the gathering at the bike path, but maybe this spring an opportunity to gather at the union might be nice.

Liz Vowles on Dec 23, 2012

Black ice on Lake Wingra this Sunday morning. A bunch of us played hockey off Wingra Park. It might not be quite safe in the middle yet. Several years ago on a day in December I ran into Jim on Wingra and we skated back and forth across the lake, passing the puck. Beautiful ice, clear view to the bottom, quite shallow a good distance out from shore.

Jennifer Milestone on Dec 22, 2012

John and Peggy and Karen I won't be able to meet tomorrow I'm going to be in Illinois. I passed the message along to my other coworkers about tomorrow. I plan on going when I get back. I know the trail pretty good if you let know where abouts it is I can try to find it. Hope you all have good holiday take care. Thinking about all of you!

John & Peggy on Dec 22, 2012

Jennifer, my wife and I are picking up Karen tomorrow at 12:30 and going to the parking lot just east of the Limnology building.. so not too far west from the Memorial Union.. and walking west from there to that location, which Karen will know. You are welcome to join us.

Karen on Dec 22, 2012

Jennifer please email me soon ( are meeting tomorrow (Sunday Dec 23) around 1pm at the parking lot by the Center for Limnology.

Jennifer Milestone on Dec 22, 2012

CandleFriday morning before Jim passed we were talking about snow at work. That Sunday was suppose to snow but only few inches. Jim was teasing how he wanted us to get hit by a huge snow storm get 16-20 inches and everyone being snowed in. Few weeks later wish came true. Thursday when we got that snow storm all I could think about was Jim. He got his wish and he was looking down on us and showing us he's thinking about us and with us in spirit. I could just see him laughing and smiling. Everytime it snows I will know he's with us. Snow could not stop him from biking.
Karen- I would like to know where on bike path as well where Jim passed? I work at UW Hospital and pass that trail all time and would like to put something down for Jim. I will email you.

Karen on Dec 19, 2012

What Pat wrote below rings so true for me as well--I was also one of the people who found Jim on the Lakeshore path. I was also deeply affected by the experience, but after reading all the kind, loving and beautiful words about Jim, it has become even more profound. Now I too have been touched by this wonderful soul, and will strive to carry on this light to those around me, and to remember daily how precious life is. I am sorry to have missed his life celebration. Liz-I could show you the place, perhaps this weekend? Feel free to call or send an email 510-590-7575/
Pat--thank you for putting the feeling into words... healing thoughts to all.

Liz Vinje on Dec 18, 2012

I was wondering where Jim was found on the Lakeshore path. I'd like to visit, I'd like to lay a Christmas wreath. If any one was a Merry Gentleman, for peace on earth and had good will toward men it was Jim. Someone said it was near the dorms. Anyone know where on the Lakeshore path he passed?

Peggy Lison John Ottinger on Dec 18, 2012

Our heartfelt thanks go to Jim's many friends, whether those who offered condolences on this page, shared an anecdote, mourned our loss, celebrated a life.

And special appreciation to all who helped set up and then join in the gathering on Sunday night. His love burned brightly there, and will be always remembered.
His gifts to us included his big smile, stupendous energy, progressive thinking, great helpfulness and boundless zest for life. We ask that you pass these along to the loved ones in your lives.

Sparky has moved--but not too far. She'll be living with us, around the corner from "the Bagley", for the rest of her time.

Seth on Dec 17, 2012

CandleI was not fortunate enough to have met or known Jim in this life. However, I was able to attend last nights memorial and celebration of his life, in what I had intended as support for his once next door neighbor, Nancy.

The friends and family that had gathered, the memories that were celebrated, Sparky, and the overwhelming spirit that I felt that evening have profoundly affected me in the most unexpected ways. Jim had touched the hearts of so many people, and clearly continues to do so.

I left that evening a different person. Each time I hear a dog howling in the distance, I will think of Sparky and Jim, taking comfort in knowing that he is watching over all that he loved and believed in.

Andy Ringquist on Dec 16, 2012

I will remember Jim for his intrepid spirit and generous good nature. Jim helped me cut down a very tall spruce tree in my front yard this past summer. Jim made it seem so easy and he didn't seem worried at all that it might not work out just as we planned it. I watched amazed as Jim confidently perched himself high in the tree on some spindly branches that incredibly held him up as if by pure determination. The tree came down perfectly. Thank you Jim for your help and for not dropping the tree through my roof! We will miss you.

Mary Bumann on Dec 16, 2012

CandleJim showed an unwavering commitment to justice and fairness, and a singular, enviable and magical connection to nature in all its incarnations; He was a rare and true free spirit. I will miss his presence in this world.

Nataraj Hauser on Dec 16, 2012

Rebecca on Dec 15, 2012

When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird.

When I fall
Let me fall without regret
Like a leaf.

excerpt from a poem by Wendell Berry.

Holly & Hopka on Dec 15, 2012

Mary Bowman on Dec 15, 2012

I lived near the top of The Bagley Hill until last February. When I heard excited barking from down the hill, I'd go to the nearest window and watch Jim peddling his bike straight up that unbikeable hill, with Sparky running circles around him on the way up, barking all the way.
Jim made exquisite pies, usually with the rarest and choicest berries. And Jim's investment in training Sparky spoke volumes about his love for fellow creatures. One time when Peggy and John were minding Sparky for awhile, Peggy showed me how Sparky bares his teeth to have them brushed. (Don't we wish toddlers could figure that out...) Enjoy the heavenly woods and pastures, Jim.

John & Peggy on Dec 15, 2012


Thanks so much for writing. We would like to have you at the gathering for Jim tomorrow from 3-7 pm at 43 Bagley Ct If you need a ride we can provide it. Please call us either way at 238-1940.

Pat on Dec 15, 2012

CandleI am glad to have found this page after a week of searching for it. I was one of the students who found Jim on the Lakeshore path on the way home from class last Friday. I can't help but think I was supposed to be there; I never took that way home from class but for some reason that day I felt compelled to enjoy the beautiful lake and the abnormally pleasant winter's day. Finding the crowd around Jim was a horrifying experience, but it was a testament to the deep love and respect humanity has for each other, each passerby was doing their part to help save Jim. After reading each memory on this page, I can't help but to think I was meant to have seen this great, loving man, even if only in his last moments of life. These stories inspire me to live each day as an adventure and to appreciate the little things in life. In my next four years as a UW Undergrad, I will say a special prayer for Jim and all of his family each time I pass that spot on the Lakeshore path. My deepest condolences go out to all of those affected by Jim's all-too-early passing. God bless.

Peggy on Dec 15, 2012

Hi to all from Peggy
reschedule work day til tomorrow at 11:00 call Peggy
at 238-1940 thanks

Bev Rast on Dec 14, 2012

CandleI have such fond memories of times spent with Jim. His joy and great sense of adventure was shared with my sons Tyler Burton and David. There was a Saturday that Jim taught Tyler how to ride the madison bus system. They took off early in the morning and road all over the city the whole day on one transfer ticket each. Jim,rest in peace and know that you touched the hearts of so many

Peter B. on Dec 14, 2012

I grew up as a neighborhood kid on Bagley. Among the many memories of Jim, one winter's snow fort stands out. It was taller (seemed to be two stories) than any fort we could muster, and all thanks to Jim's stature and enthusiasm for building it. Thanks for being a kid, with the kids, it leaves those amazing childhood memories!

Kathy Trochlell on Dec 14, 2012

Miss you like crazy, Jim.
I love you so much.

Your loving sister, Kathy

Peggy & John on Dec 14, 2012

John O. on Dec 14, 2012

Sherry on Dec 13, 2012

Jim's family is very blessed to have known him. While I knew Jim through work I regret that I did not know him well. When I did talk to Jim I always felt that he was one of the good ones. He will be missed.

Uncle John O. on Dec 13, 2012

Anyone who knew Jim can identify with this story:

He came over to cut a tree down in our yard; I offered to help. Before I'd gotten my gear together he'd scampered to the top, roped up and was starting to cut. I "helped" here and there, but before long I figured I could do less damage and be less in his way if I just hauled the downed branches to the curb. So I did maybe 2% of the work and him the other 98%. When we were done he said, "thanks for the help, John.. I really appreciated it."

That's the kind of man he was. We will sure miss him.

Melissa Centers on Dec 13, 2012

scott clippinger on Dec 13, 2012

We can measure life by age or the experience of quality friends. Jim was young but rich in friends and life. That says a lot of who he was. Jim had that peacefully gravitation quality, where you just have to say," now that's a cool person". We can choose our friends but not how long they are in our life. I am grateful to have known such an interesting and wonderful guy. Jim lived life to the fullest and I admired that. Jim you are missed by a lot of people, Jim you will not be forgotten.

Janet Murphy on Dec 13, 2012

Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest,
lays down its life in its season
as beautifully as it was taken up.
-- Henry David Thoreau

I too have many tales of Jim crawling in my attic, high in a tree hanging bird houses, running barefoot (!) with his kayak, enjoying a home brew, building snow sculptures, making pies, playing cards with Mabel, protesting at the capitol...
Inquisitive, kind, feisty, good natured, smart, ethical and respected. It wasn't the doing for us but the being with us that nurtured all this love.

sherri zirkle on Dec 12, 2012

Melissa Centers on Dec 12, 2012

CandleWalking down the beach with Uncle Jim and Rocky (josh's dog) feeding the birds waiting for the sun to rise this Thanksgiving... I will never forget the our walk. Uncle Jim just absolutely loved waiting to soak in the sun...
RIP Uncle Jim
We will always love and miss you!

Elizabeth Cobb Helms on Dec 12, 2012

Jim became my big brother when his mother married my dad, John Cobb. I embraced him and told him I had always wanted a big brother as I had grown up with two sisters. He gave me the best hug I have ever known! Every time I saw him, he gave me that hug. He could convey more by just looking into his eyes than any words could say. He LOVED life and was passionate about everything he did. He was an amazingly powerful soul who took in everything & had empathy for all living beings, including humans! I was lucky to have him in my life and very lucky to have spent Thanksgiving week with him & family enjoying the beach here in Texas. That is how I will remember him -- enjoying nature and loving too many people to even attempt to list.

Wes and Ankie on Dec 12, 2012

Ankie and Wes Foell on Dec 12, 2012

Jim was the heart and soul of our Bagley neighborhood, the glue and fiber that connected the Court and the Parkway, the young and the old, the newcomers and the veterans, and even the creatures and we humans. We will miss our dear neighbor in so many ways. Who else but Jim would see us struggling in our woods with an oversize buckthorn tree, then politely but firmly take the grub axe from our hands, and promptly demolish the poor invasive with a few well-aimed blows. Jim had that rare ability and character which channeled his intensive physical and mental energy into a generous and genuinely caring relationship with friends as well as the neighborhood and the community. For almost two decades, he was a frequent and loyal visitor to our doorstep - to see how we were doing - whether we needed any help in the house or yard. And while we chatted, Sparky would enjoy exploring each nook and cranny of our house, hoping of course that Jim wouldn't remain indoors too long.

We deeply admired and loved Jim's passion for nurturing the native flora and animals of Hoyt Park. Each season we would discuss the status and health of the fox, hawk and owl populations in the area - and who of the neighbors hasn't seen Jim high in a tree installing or repairing an ailing bird house. That early Friday evening, just as the sun was going down, we heard "Jim's" owls calling, as if they were crying for attention, but Jim unfortunately was already gone. The same owl call occurred again 24 hours later and we finally understood how sensitive animals are towards losing their guardian. It was a beautiful symbol of the owls' love for Jim, high up in the tree. Spiritually they will always feel Jim around them, as we do, which is a great inspiration to us and sets a strong example how nature intertwines with us humans. This is the great beauty of living in this 'rich' Bagley area - may it always remain this way.

California Randy on Dec 11, 2012

I knew Jim some years ago. Madison was having record cold with wind chills in December. A man on a bike wearing a kind of face mask with a snorkley tube that traveled from the mask to underneath his swaeter thus preheating the winter air.
Alas poor Jim. Only a squirrel could rejoice but for the loss of their largest predictor I doubt they are.

Daithi Wolfe on Dec 11, 2012

Hank & Katy Ottinger on Dec 11, 2012

Our sympathies and condolences go out to all who knew and loved Jimmy. Whenever Katy and I visited John and Peggy, we always looked forward to seeing Jimmy and learning of his latest adventures. A kinder, more generous, and energetic person would be hard to find, and we will miss him dearly.

Marcus Kelley on Dec 11, 2012

CandleI can truly say that I've never met another Man like Jim. I feel like I'm a better person for having known and spent time with him. Know that he will be missed but never forgotten.

Peggy & John on Dec 10, 2012

Anyone coming to the part Sunday please bring a photo or two of Jim... we'll have a board up. Hope to see a good turnout.. it's starting to look like it...again it'll be at 43 Bagley Ct. from 3-7 pm.

Daithi Wolfe on Dec 10, 2012


Mia Morrisette on Dec 10, 2012

CandleIt doesn't take long to recognize when a sweet wise soul enters one's life and departs far too soon. Healing thoughts to long time friends, family and loved companions of Jim. May memories be lasting examples of a life well lived...

Gail on Dec 10, 2012

Jim shared the most wise thoughts in the very simplest ways. He spoke without intending to be profound, but somehow I always found him to be just that. Never hurtful, and always willing to find the good parts of anyone. I feel blessed to have shared a truly genuine embrace between friends that had not seen each other for some time this past summer (thank you John and Margaret). And now I will forever cherish the long hikes, his beer brewing teachings (G-Spot Porter!), and his Labrador Retriever- like enthusiasm about life! Jim, you brought pure joy into every room you entered and every song to which you danced. The world has been a better place with you in it.

Steve Collins on Dec 10, 2012

Jim was one of the most energetic, caring, carefree, people I have ever worked with. I had the privilege of working with him at the UW sleep lab for 7 years. Jim had so much wisdom and insight on many life issues. He was slow to judge peope which he rarely did, and he thought through so many things. He is the only person I've ever met who owned a ice boat. He was making home brew before it was so popular. He was always there to give a listening caring ear. He will be missed greatly. God bless you JIm, family, coworkers and friends.

Jean MacCubbin on Dec 10, 2012

Jim was always there to help; especially on Hoyt Park workdays! He always stayed after we left to organize brush, finish up or walk about the park viewing his good works. We will miss his input; he was there working the first park master plan in 1995.

Liz Vowles on Dec 10, 2012

On Friday, the day Jim died, the nearby Capital City Church cut down a huge old maple at the edge of its parking lot, and the wood was put in two big piles along Eugenia Avenue. Jim would have seen that on his bike ride home from work and then moved much (all?) of it into his driveway. He would have taken even the biggest chunks and happily split them on winter evenings--and no wedges for Jim either, just mighty whacks with his split ax. Most of this wood remains on the curb as of mid-afternoon on Monday, December 10.

Nicholas Brown on Dec 10, 2012

CandleJim was a all around great guy. Always offering his hand to help anyone at any time. I really enjoyed working with him at UW Hospital. I enjoyed listening to his stories and adventures. Jim will be missed here at UW Hospital. RIP Jim.

Rebecca on Dec 10, 2012


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