A Tribute to Lila Mae Trotman

Lila Mae Trotman, wife of Navigators founder Dawson Trotman and a key participant in the ministry over seven decades, died on October 27, 2004, at age 90. A service celebrating her life was held on November 7, 2004, at The Navigators’ Glen Eyrie Conference Center in Colorado Springs, where Dawson’s memorial service had taken place 48 years earlier.

Lila Mae was born in Buffalo Valley, Tennessee, on December 12, 1913, to William and Eda Mae Clayton. When she was two, her family moved to southern California. There she grew up, graduated from Narbonne High School, and met and eventually married Dawson Trotman on July 3, 1932.

The following year the young couple began a ministry to military men and women in their home. What started as a small spark spread person by person and eventually became The Navigators, a worldwide partnership that today has more than 4,000 staff ministering in 110 countries. Lila shaped the lives of many Navigator women, and Dawson often said that without her and her willingness to open her home, there never would have been a Navigator ministry.

Meanwhile, the Trotmans became the parents of five children: Bruce David, Ruth Darlene, Burke Dawson, Faith Arlene, and Charles “Chuckie” Earle. Dawson, Ruth, Chuckie, and grandson Kevin Wortley preceded Lila in death. Lila also has many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great, great-grandchildren.

Lila and Dawson moved to Colorado in 1953, relocating The Navigators’ headquarters from Southern California to the historic Glen Eyrie property. After Dawson’s drowning death in 1956 while saving the life of another person, Lila remained active in Navigator ministry and was a lifetime member of the Board of Directors. She continued to make her home in Colorado Springs until her death.

Lorne Sanny, who succeeded Dawson as president of The Navigators, said of Lila: “She was gracious, patient, and family oriented – just the right complement for a hard-driving, totally focused innovator of a ministry. Lila was the right companion for the founder of the Navigator ministry.”

Lila’s burial took place on the Glen Eyrie property, next to Dawson’s grave.

If you wish to offer condolences, memories, or photos of Lila to the family, please write:
The Family of Lila Trotman,
1955 North Academy Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80909.

The Trotman family requests that memorial gifts be sent to:
The Navigators, Lila Trotman Memorial
P.O. Box 6000
Colorado Springs, CO 80934.


  1. Great eulogy. I read a lot about her in Betty Skinner’s Daws. She was a great complement to him. I admire them for opening their homes to sailors, missionaries and others. I liked the picture in Daws of their family at the Glen, Christmas 1954!

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