James Robert Trotter Jr., who was senior counsel to Gov. Jim Martin, died on Dec. 23 at the age of 93.
Family, friends, colleagues and the former governor attended a funeral service for him on Wednesday at Christ Church in downtown Raleigh.
Trotter, who went by Jim, was one of Martin’s inner circle in the Republican administration that ran from 1985 to 1993. Martin was only the second GOP governor elected since Reconstruction.
That inner circle included: the late Jack Hawke, who moved on to chair the state Republican Party; the late Jim Lofton, who was his first chief of staff and became secretary of administration; and Phil Kirk, who also served as Martin’s chief of staff and later ran N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry and served as chairman of the state Board of Education. He now owns a speaking and consulting firm.
Trotter remained at Martin’s side and emerged as his senior aide.
N.C. Chief Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin, who worked with Trotter as legal counsel to the governor, shared his thoughts on Trotter’s passing in an email on Christmas Day.
“Jim Trotter possessed in great measure the attributes of civility, integrity, and professionalism that we would want to see in any attorney and in any human being for that matter,” Justice Martin wrote. “Working for him was one of the most professionally rewarding experiences of my life.
“He was a person I have aspired to emulate during my career of public service.
“We live in challenging and divisive times. Jim Trotter was exhibit A in terms of how to stand for great principles but also be willing to work collaboratively with others in order to administer good government.”
In 1996, Trotter was a chairman of race car legend Richard Petty’s unsuccessful run for secretary of state.
Services were arranged by the Bryan-Lee Funeral Home in Raleigh, where he lived. His family chose not to publish an obituary.
An earlier version of this story had the date wrong for Petty’s secretary of state campaign.