David W. Troast
Published 8:52 am Saturday, September 30, 2023
David Wheeler Troast, a pillar of both business and community, passed away on September 23, 2023. He was born on January 31, 1934, in Passaic, New Jersey, the son of William Conrad and Dorothy Adams Troast.
He graduated from Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, NJ, and earned a BA in Economics and Political Science from Middlebury College. After college, he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve from 1956-1960.
Entering the business world, David embarked on a prominent career in the industrial gas sector. With a blend of kindness, humility and leadership, he held a variety of sales, sales management and leadership roles within Airco Industrial Gases, ultimately rising to President. Upon Airco’s acquisition by BOC Group, he became Group Vice President of what was then the largest industrial gas company in the world. After retirement, he remained active in the gas industry and in family real estate.
David’s heart was always with the land, whether from the back of a horse or the seat of a tractor. His life took him from the pastoral landscapes of Oldwick, NJ, where he and Jeanne painstakingly restored a working farm, to the rolling hills of Deerfield, VA, and finally the serene valleys of Tryon, NC. A 2012 post in the Middlebury Magazine reflected his love of the rural life: “I’m living in the beautiful Allegheny Highlands of Western Virginia–population 5,000, no traffic lights, and 70 percent National Forest, farming a couple hundred acres–horses, hay, dogs, cats, coyotes, bears, rattlers, etc.”
Throughout his life, David had an enduring commitment to community service. His roles included serving as Trustee for the March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation, Chairman of the Bath Community Hospital in Hot Springs, VA, and appointed Chair of the NJ Governor’s Advisory Council on AIDS — where he controversially defied the State’s governor on the issue of needle exchanges to prevent spread of the disease. Amidst those more prominent roles, he took equal joy in one-on-one mentoring of high school students in Bath County, VA.
People were most important to David. Despite being a resident of the Tryon area for only two years, he rapidly forged strong relationships within the community as evidenced by the outpouring of love and sympathy from all who knew him upon his passing.
He is survived by his devoted wife and partner of 37 years, Jeanne Hamilton Troast, and their children: Peter R Troast (Lisa Fahay) of Freeport, ME, W. David Troast (Criss Troast) of Nantucket, Barbara L Troast (Jay Batley) of San Francisco, Hazel Raby (Michael Anderson) of Round Pond, ME, Jenna Raby (Bobby Kandaswamy) of Corbett, OR, and JC Raby of San Carlos, CA. His memory will also be cherished by five grandchildren—Tucker, Conrad, Margaret, and McKenna Troast and Liam Raby.
A service to honor David’s rich life will be held at 11 AM at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Tryon, NC. In lieu of flowers, the family graciously asks that memorial gifts be directed to the Foothills Humane Society foothillshumanesociety.org/donate/.
McFarland Funeral Chapel