Tuesday, November 13, 2012


One of the great things about Facebook is that it can connect us, if we so choose,
to virtually anyone who has passed through our lives. It gives us the opportunity
to keep up with friends, family, and our friends' families. Memories that have long
been dormant, can suddenly come to life with a picture or a funny comment from
a friend.  In an instant, we can see a picture of a baby come into the world and
learn about an old friend who has left it.

On Monday, while reading a post from Robert Troup, I discovered that a person
who had touched my life in a very special way, had moved onto a much better place.
Troup's father, with the same name, died at the age of 92. To the people of New
Canaan, CT, he was known as "Papa Blue", "The Colonel" and, of course, "Colonel

In a town of bankers, brokers, and a boatload of  millionaires, Troup stood out
from the crowd and there was nobody quite like him. "Papa Blue" was a true original.
If there was a food label attached to him, it would've read, "100 percent all-natural,
no ingredients added." He was so bright, so down to earth, and so personable,
that after meeting him for the first time, one got the feeling they had known
"The Colonel" their entire life.

I never knew what Troup did for a living, nor did I care. He put a smile on my
face and made me laugh every time I saw him. He'd often zoom around town
in a convertabile, his long white-grey hair flowing in the wind, a scarf often
snuggled around his neck. "The Colonel" was tall, good-looking, and extremely
dapper. He looked like as if he was created in Hollywood and refined by the world's
most courteous parents. I wish I can tell you there was movie star, a politician
or even an athlete than he reminded me of,  but I can't. Troup was incredibly
unique in every way. There wasn't an ounce of a mean in his body and talking
bad about another person wasn't in his DNA. Quite simply, he was a beautiful
human being.

Troup had a plethora of nicknames and he seemingly tagged everyone with one
of their own. "He used to call me 'Haystack Martin', who was a professional wrestler",
said Mark Rearick, a legendary coach in New Canaan, who is a mountain of a man
at 6'4 and a svelte 300lbs. "We'd go into a restaurant and he'd have the waitresses
calling me, 'Haystack Martin'. He'd get kids to ask me for my autograph. It was
hilarious. The Colonel was the greatest. He'll be missed."\

Every time I ran into Troup in New Canaan, he'd always greet me the same way.
"Hey, Devils, what's going on?" He didn't really have to ask because he always
seemed to know what was going on in my life, as well as my friends' lives, and
even the friends of my friends lives. He had his pulse on everything and everyone
in New Canaan. He was a huge supporter of the athletic programs in town and
if there was a game being played, there was bound to be Troup hanging out in the
stands or on the sidelines.

Troup had the look and temperament of someone who had seen it all, and he
probably did. He was in World War II, suffering a significant injury that he had
to live with, but never really let anyone notice/. He managed to convince Jimmy
Carter to come to New Canaan and Waveny Park during the presidential campaign
in 1976. Nobody in town had the power to get that done, nobody except "The Colonel."
Everybody knew Troup from politicians, movie stars, to athletes and coaches. If
you met Troup, you never forgot him.

You have to search this country far and wide to find someone to say a bad
thing about Robert Troup. If they did, they were lying. It certainly wasn't because
they had an axe to grind because nobody, and I mean nobody, had an axe to
grind with Troup. He was that well-liked.

Colonel Troup, I love you. You were one of a kind and you will be missed.

1 comment:

  1. You have perfectly and wonderfully captured the Bob Troup that I knew. Thank you for taking the time to write this tribute to "Papa Blue". I am his son in law. My moniker in the colonel's world was "slick" as in how do you keep every hair on your head so perfectly in place? Of course there was a mischievous grin on his face when he would call me that. Everything had multiple meanings in his world.

    He was great at making you feel special and appreciated. He extended this kindness to strangers he would meet in casual encounters: the waitress, the check out clerk, the busboy, the ticket taker at the door. An interchange might go something like this, "Hey do not I know you from somewhere? Were not you in that Tom Cruise movie that just came out?" or "this is the best service I have ever received anywhere."

    Until the very last you could see him plastered two inches in front of the TV so that he could follow Sunday football or watch the live feed of a late night UCLA Bruin's basketball game. He supported us as fans of the Bruins. He would always have cogent comments about Howland should be doing this or what the heck is wrong with that football program.

    It is my great good fortune to be married to his delightful daughter, Gail, and to be the father of two of his precious grandchildren, Gabrielle and Daniel. They all have had the good fortune to inherit his kindness, warmth, sense of humor, affability, love of sports, athletic talent, and amazing gregariousness. I am grateful to the Colonel in so many ways. May he now rest in peace. David Fogelson