Christopher Trussell

Oh, this makes me sad: via my high school friend Jason VanBorssum, I learn that Christopher Trussell, who was one of my favorite teachers in high school, passed away this last November. Chris taught music while I was at Webb and also directed a number of the plays, most notably the school’s annual musical. He had a wicked sense of humor, and could occasionally descend into what I can only describe as a distinctly Trussellian level of high-toned bitchery, which was delightful to see as long as you were not its target, especially as it was conveyed in Chris’ English accent. But mostly he was kind, which is a good thing for a teacher to be.

Chris left Webb before I graduated and eventually ended up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he became a priest and also taught at local schools there. I would call him up every once in a while to see how he was doing and he always seemed happy to be where he was and doing what he was doing. I’m sad I won’t get the opportunity to do so again.

If you would, take a moment to think of Chris; in my experience of him, a good man. He’ll hold a special place in my memory.

19 Comments on “Christopher Trussell”

  1. I hated learning of my favorite High School English teacher’s untimely passing. My condolences and empathies.

  2. You know, teach who inspires students to call him years after they’ve left school and to write a nice remembrance of them like this one has done something right. My condolences John.

  3. My condolences. There was one teacher in my high school who saved me from falling through the cracks. I like to drop in and say “hi” to them once in a blue moon. Good teachers can be a life saver.

  4. My condolences as well — it’s amazing how a good teacher sticks with you and really makes a difference in your life — and in unexpected ways.

  5. My sincere condolences, John. May he rest in blessed peace, and his friends and family find eventual comfort in happy memories of him. I have wonderful memories of several of my teachers who changed my life, especially those who taught me to reach across the footlights and touch the souls of an audience, and it’s been a real stab to my soul to hear such news of them.

  6. He does sound like a neat person. I lost a high school teacher two years ago to pancreatic cancer. Unlike you, I hadn’t spoken to my teacher since shortly after graduation. I know that he knew he made a difference in many students’ lives, including mine, so it is only for myself I am sad I didn’t get to say goodbye. For him, he died young and lost out on many good years with family, will never meet his grandchildren, etc. May they both rest in peace.

  7. The measure of a teacher is not what he teaches, but what his students glean from him and teach in his name. John, it is wonderful that you cared enough about him to pass on what you learned from him. I’m sorry.

  8. I’m so very sorry, John. It is always wonderful when a teacher-student relationship survives the classroom and becomes a friendship.

  9. I’m sorry to hear about this too. I had similar feelings about my HS Debate coach who passed a couple of years back. He too had a way of good natured bitching that managed to bring out the best in many of his students.

  10. My condolences, John. I know how much my favorite teachers mean to me, losing one must be really hard.

    My wife teaches at my old high school, so I get the opportunity to run into some of my old teachers from time to time. It’s nice.

  11. My condolences. I lost one of my favorite college professors before my senior year of college, and I was more than a little amazed at how much it stung.

  12. I was saddened to learn of Chris Death via your site. Chris’s mother lived in our village in West Wales and over the years we became good friends when he visited her. I remember on one occassion he came to my home for Christmas dinner and ended up playing an old ‘ Honky Tonk’ piano we had in our home and made it sing. He was remarkably talented and I will remember him with much affection.

  13. Hello, John! I remember you very well.

    I was married to Chris and we parted in very mutual and congenial ways and remained dear friends. I happened to be visiting when he passed away. My sons and I just finished a lengthy obituary for Chris which will be in the Webb magazine soon. Actually, I believe, a short version will be in the magazine and the lengthy one will be on Webb’s website along with many pictures. I had the pleasure of browsing yearbooks and selecting pictures of Chris and scenes of students in performances. I don’t know if all will be on the website but, hopefully, many will be.

    So delighted to have happened upon your website. By the way, a comment to Peter– Chris always thought of you as having “the-devil-may-care” attitude toward life! He loved it!

  14. I happened upon your blog because I was thinking of Chris, and did a search. I had Chris in the mid-70s for Glee Club, drama, and all the other musical events our school enjoyed at one time. He taught me so much in the way of voice lessons as well as a bit of advice here and there on my piano playing. I had the most fun with him in the play “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”. There’s a pix of him in one of my yearbooks striding across campus and wearing a marvelous grin as he raised some papers in a salute to the camera. He inscribed the page to me with a wonderful quote from Milton, “Ring out, ye crystal spheres!” It is thus I shall always remember a Chris Trussell in his prime. Best wishes from a fellow Webbie to you, John.

  15. I have only recently found out of the very sad news of the passing of Christopher Trussel in 2010. He was the organist and choirmasterr at St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa where I was a choirister in the late 1950’s onwards. He was popular with us all and was much missed when he returned to England. He inspired my love of the pipe organ and choral music He corresponded with me but we lost contact when I left Port Elizabeth,
    Belated condolences to his family. Mike Boyley –

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