Real estate agent, dad Warner Trotter Jr. killed at 41
Editor’s Note: This feature is part of a weekly The Star focus intended to highlight and remember the lives of deceased Black Kansas citizens.
“Everyone is hurt. Everyone is in disbelief. I am in disbelief,” says Warner Trotter III, the eldest son of Warren Trotter Jr. The loss of his father came as a shock.
Trotter Jr., a Kansas City realtor and entrepreneur, died Aug. 7 at age 41 after being shot on the porch of his home. While a person of interest has been taken into custody, the case is ongoing.
“There are so many things that I will miss for my father,” his son says. “I will miss his smile, his laugh and his conversations. I feel like I was lucky enough to be able to call him my best friend. He was very much loved. He loved his children. never happened, no matter what it was.
His father, originally from Kansas City, gave him the passion to get into real estate as well. Although his father was only 14 when his son was born and dropped out of high school to support his child, he was able to provide a life for his son which led him to earn a degree in marketing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“My father has always been so generous. I heard so many stories from people about how much my dad cared and watched over people. Even the contractors who worked for him on his houses. Some of them didn’t even have transportation, and my dad drove them, he made sure they ate, hydrated and treated them like human beings,” he says.
With her loss, her six children, other family members and friends must now attempt to move on without the encouraging pillar of support.
“He was a natural motivator,” says Tierra Robinson, mother of Trotter’s second son. “He would motivate you and encourage you to strive to be the best. And whatever potential he saw in people, he would always support them.
He will be remembered as a loving parent who made sure to work hard to ensure his children had a better life than his.
“Everyone is grieving and trying to process in their own way, but we’re all standing up for the kids,” Robinson says. “Everything he did was for his kids. Warner did everything he could for them, and he sacrificed a lot so they could have what they wanted and have a better life.
Robinson, who had known Trotter since middle school, remembers him as someone who was always funny, charming, and honest with those he loved.
“Sometimes he would say things to be people and I was like, dang Warner, that was kinda harsh. But that was only because he believed in people so much and wanted to see them improve” , she says.
Over the past five years, Trotter has launched his own real estate business, flipping homes in the urban core. This occupation allowed him to take charge of his future and build a legacy that he could pass on to his children.
“The children are doing the best they can. I think right now it hits them, they won’t have their dad there to watch them grow,” Robinson says.
Trotter was widely mourned on social media.
“Dang bro can’t believe it, I’m praying for your kids and your family, so amazing”
“One of the most real!! When I started coming back into the community, you always told me to keep pushing and not to give up! Every time I have published a flyer that you gave away, good people are hard to meet and you were an EXCEPTIONAL person to meet.
‘I really can’t believe it. RIP, I pray for the family”
For Robinson, the loss of a lifelong friend and co-parent is still being felt. However, she knows that she will always have to remind her son of the loyal and caring man that his father was.
“He was a good father and a good friend. He had a good heart. If you needed something, he would do it. And if he couldn’t do it, he would find and send someone who could do it. says Robinson.
Betty Ruth Potts
Betty Ruth Potts, mother and church worker, died Aug. 2. She was 85 years old.
Potts was born on February 13, 1937, in Moffett, Oklahoma, to Reverend Josephine Robertson and Clint Wright. She would be the couple’s only child and was affectionately nicknamed Baby Ruth, for her middle name and favorite sweets.
Growing up in rural Oklahoma was difficult for her. She often had to walk several miles with her grandparents just to get to church. This was the beginning of a long church-centered life.
Potts and his family were forced to leave Moffett after their home was destroyed in a flood. The family soon moved to Kansas City, where Potts’ aunt owned a beauty salon and her husband ran an ice cream and barber shop.
Potts became heavily involved in the church, singing in the choir alongside her cousins, whom she considered her brothers and sisters.
In 1953, she would marry the love of her life, Ferris “Sonny” Potts, and the two would have nine children. They were both very caring parents, devoted to their children and keeping them involved in church activities.
Later in life, Potts became an avid traveler, planning many cruise trips with family and friends.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children, Anita Potts, Edna Alexander, Frances Cunningham, Ferris A. Potts Jr., Peggy Rowell, Randy Potts, Larry Lee Potts, Teresa Hill, Vernon Potts, as well as a host to grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Darlene Collins Burrows
Darlene Collins Burrows, educator and mother, died August 4. She was 101 years old.
She was born on July 28, 1921 in Coffeywille, Kansas, to William Collins and Ellen Collins. The third of eight children, she grew up in difficult times during the Great Depression.
Educated in the Coffeyville Public School District, Burrows was encouraged and supported by her family to pursue her education and pursue her dreams.
While attending Pittsburg State University, she joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., an organization that would help her gain lifelong friends and a sense of brotherhood.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in education. But with the start of World War II, she worked in a bomb factory to inspect munitions.
After the war, Burrows worked as a teacher in an era of racially segregated schools throughout the Midwest and South.
She began to advocate for black students and educators by demanding the same quality of books and other learning materials that were made available to white schools.
She would eventually move to Kansas City and make it her home. She met and married Monroe Burrows. After the birth of their first and only child, Burrows would return to school to pursue her master’s degree at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York.
Both Burrows and her husband were educators in Kansas City public schools as well as leaders in their community and church.
She retired from teaching in 1983 and devoted herself to caring for her husband after a serious car accident left him in need of a full-time carer until his death in 1991. After her death, she would devote much of her time to caring for family members and loved ones.
She is survived by her daughter Lisa Burrows; two grandchildren, Alexander and Gabrielle; son-in-law André, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.