Rice Trolan

June 10, 1927 - March 10, 2024
Rice  Trolan

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Rice was born in Washington, D.C., June 10, 1927. He died peacefully while in hospice at the Windsor Meade Retirement Complex, Williamsburg, VA, passing at 5:30 pm, on March 10, 2024, of natural causes. He thoroughly enjoyed his 96 years of a full life, well lived. He met the love of his life, Elizabeth “Betty” Lee Wortham, on a blind date while attending the U.S. Army Armor Officer’s Basic Course in Fort Knox, KY in 1952. It was a mutual, “love at first sight”. He was shortly thereafter deployed to Korea and fought as a combat front-line, tank company commander for a year. Two weeks after returning home in early1954, they were married in Louisville, KY. Rice leaves behind a forever beholden and close-knit family. He was predeceased by his parents, William Archie Trolan and Elizabeth Walker Terrill Trolan, as well as, his wife of 49 years, Betty Lee who passed on August 2, 2002. In addition, he leaves his two sons: William Lee Trolan and Steven Terrill Trolan; five grand children: Scott McLean Trolan, Heather Elizabeth Trolan Wilkinson, Terrill James Trolan, Andrew Scott Trolan and Lindsay Erin Trolan Berry; and four great-great grand children: Adalyn “Addie” Elizabeth Trolan, Patrick McLean Trolan, Bennett Oliver Berry, and Landen Wilkinson.

Rice’s primary academic accomplishments were a B.S. in General Engineering from Ohio University, 1951, a B.S. in Physics from the U.S. Navy Post-Graduate School, 1958 and a M.S. in Safety from the University of Southern California, 1980. His professional career was recognized with a myriad of decorations and awards while serving his country. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in August 1945, as a private, and served three years in war-torn Europe, as one of the first of the occupation troops to relieve the combat veterans of WW2. In 1947, using his G.I. Bill, he entered college and graduated in 1951. The Korean War was heating up and he wanted to participate. He earned a competitive, regular U.S.Army commission as a second lieutenant and subsequently served on active duty for the next twenty years, before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was always very proud of his service in the uniform of his country. Upon retiring from the military, his focus was in the field of nuclear safety and security.

His next significant job was working for the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Over his fifteen years as an employee of the Lab, he was a founding member of the elite, Nuclear Emergency Search Team and was promoted to Division Head of Safety. Towards the end of his career with the Lab, he served on-loan to the Department of Energy Headquarters, supporting the Office of Weapons Safety and Operations which he thoroughly enjoyed. That experience gave him the advanced knowledge and swath of contacts to once again retire — and begin the final stage of his notable career. After retiring from the Lab, he set out his own shingle for another five years, becaming a very sought after Senior Consultant within the national and international nuclear weapons safety and security fields. Primarily, Rice had contracts to support the Department of Energy Headquarters and the U.K. Atomic Weapons Establishment to assist in developing their policies, plans and procedures. These was one of his greatest accomplishments and legacies. Much of his work continues to be used as the gold-standard within this field of work. Finally, after a stellar 46 year career, he settled into retirement and moved to Williamsburg, Virginia to enjoy life. He happily engaged in his community as a volunteer. He joined the ranks of docents at Colonial Williamsburg’s St. Tucker House, assisting visitors in enjoying and maximizing their visits there for the next 20 years. Rice took art lessons and quickly became a recognized, award-winning water color painter within the community and beyond. He donated his time and talents for many years to the James City County Jail teaching art to the inmates as a therapeutic and self-worth project. This was very fulfilling for him, as he had several former inmates express their appreciation and even attribute his class with turning around their lives. Kiwanis Club was another organization that benefited greatly from his contribution of time and resources. He was dedicated to the fundraising efforts and lead some of their more successful events.

Throughout his life, Rice thrived being outdoors. He loved fishing, skiing, traveling to new lands, and especially sailing. Some of his favorite days ever were the challenges and thrills he found while sailing with his wife and two sons on the San Francisco Bay. Now we plan to celebrate him, as his boat weighs anchor and sails out for the last time. Fair winds and following seas, Rice! His memorial service will be coordinated with the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church (215 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA US 23185) at a time and date, TBD. An internment will be held at the Cave Hill Cemetery (701 Baxter Avenue, Louisville, KY 40204) at a time and date, also TBD. Condolences may be sent to 4388 Landfall Drive, Williamsburg, VA. 23185


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  • March 25, 2024
    Stephen Nodine says:
    It was an honor to serve with his son Lee and greater honor to have met this outstanding American Hero! Blessings to the entire Trolan family ! Forty to Battle and now Rice shall be “ First in Heaven “! Forever grateful for his service and life! RIP

  • March 21, 2024
    Steve Mackinnon says:
    All the best to the Trolan Family.