OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The service began with a procession from the reverend's house, led by family members and more than two dozen preachers from across the coast.
Inside, tears were shed, and hands were folded in prayer as the overflow crowd paid tribute to the Reverend Trotter. Words of encouragement were spoken to the family by the Reverend Eric Dickey.
"We are here to lift them up and commend them unto the Lord," Dickey said. "The Lord is too wise to make a mistake, He's too loving to be misunderstood. Amen."
Thursday's service was a celebration of the life of Dr. Jesse L. Trotter Sr. His program called it a life well lived, and at times, raw emotion came through very clearly.
The Reverend George Purvines quoted from Psalm 23, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me."
But there was joy and humor too. When it was asked if the Reverend Trotter would like to be driven in a car to heaven by a longtime friend, the Reverend Dr. Michael Kelley had the answer.
"I can imagine Dr. Trotter saying, 'No, you've driven me all over the place, but we had to use GPS and it might go out, and I'll never get home.'"
Dr. Trotter's efforts in the civil rights struggles of the 60s were honored by the Reverend Claudia Joiner.
"He was very instrumental on the national scene in the time of civil rights," Joiner said. "I'm not telling you a story because I was there with him."
The city's mayor, Connie Moran, had words of praise for the former city alderman.
"Dr. Trotter was always an inspiring, larger than life figure," the mayor said. "Such a discerning intellect with God's grace that his mere presence gave one pause."
It was a fitting send-off for a man who helped the city become what it is today. Dr. Trotter pastored at Macedonia for more than 40 years. He also served on the city's board of aldermen, and was the father of eight.
Dr. Trotter was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Ocean Springs.