From Pulaski County's road supervisor, to magistrate, to Pulaski County clerk and then to his first love of farming; Ralph Troxtell climbed the ladder of life, leaving an indelible footprint on each step. He died Monday after a long illness, battling cancer. He was 63.
Troxtell, a self-described country boy, walked into the maze of laws that govern a county clerk's office, memorized most of the legal documents and set a standard for public servants. As his close friend Rick Barker said: "Ralph left his mark on the county clerk's office."
Ralph Troxtell was a news reporter's dream. He went out of his way to make sure the Commonwealth Journal had all needed information. His records were opened to the press and public. If he were ever out of sorts with anyone it didn't show.
Troxtell worked as Pulaski County road supervisor prior to being elected in November 1993 as magistrate of the newly formed 7th District in southern Pulaski County. He served in that capacity until he was elected as county clerk in 2006. He served two terms, retiring in 2014 to return to his first love that was farming.
"If he were your friend, he always was your friend," remarked State Representative Tommy Turner. "Whenever he told you something, that's the way it was ... you don't see that much in politics anymore. I hate to see him go at such a young age."
"Ralph Troxtell was a joy to work with," reflected former Pulaski County Judge-Executive Louie Floyd. "All he wanted from me ... all he ever asked of me was what was fair. Ah, we had our differences of opinion but we would argue our points and come to a resolution ... Ralph was good to work with," said Floyd. "He came on Fiscal Court the same year I was elected county judge."
"He was my closest political ally ... and my closest friend," said retired Pulaski Circuit Clerk George Flynn. "We were something like third cousins ... my mom and dad and his mom and dad raised tobacco together." "We were neighbors at Bronston," recalled Flynn. He treasures an old photograph made with Ralph's older brother, Robert " ... when I was 3 or 4 years old. We were hauling tobacco ... Ralph wasn't born then."
"My dad always called him 'Little Ralph' because he was the youngest," said Flynn. "When Ralph started to run for magistrate my dad said, "You know, 'Little Ralph' is going to run for "magis'TER" (that's the way they said magistrate then). "I said, I think it's time you quit calling him 'Little Ralph,'" Flynn laughed.
Flynn talked about Troxtell's accomplishments while Pulaski County clerk. "What a wonderful thing he did for southern residents of the county when the established the satellite county clerk's office in Somerset Mall!" said Flynn. "It's a gathering place ... like going to the election." Troxtell also redesigned the county clerk's office in the courthouse, making it easier for customers to do business. Flynn reminisced about how Troxtell "memorized" the many laws applicable to the county clerk's office, becoming one of the best county clerk's in history of Pulaski County.
County Treasurer Joan Isaacs called Troxtell " ... a wonderful man ... he was a good official ... good to work with. At one time he was my boss but after the workday he was my friend."
Isaacs said Troxtell performed the wedding ceremony for her and husband Kenny " ... and for that I will alway be grateful." Kenny Isaacs, one of Troxtell's closest friends, will be a pallbearer at his funeral.
Rick Barker, former Pulaski County jailer, former director, Pulaski County 9-1-1 Communications Center and currently owner and principal broker, Godby Realty and Auction, called Troxtell " ... a hard worker, a great magistrate who worked his way up to county clerk... he did an outstanding job as county clerk ... he left his mark on the county clerk's office ... he was a great friend ... he was doing what he loved as a farmer ... he left us at a far to young age."
Friends may visit the Troxtell family from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday in the chapel of Southern Oaks Funeral Home. His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in Southern Oaks Cemetery. Mr. Troxtell's obituary is elsewhere in today's newspaper.