He officiated their meets for almost four decades.
He met them at the finish line with a smile and a click of his camera.
He captured their photos and recorded their times and marks and records for a website that kept the pulse of Lancaster-Lebanon League cross country and track and field, even after his retirement.
Bob Trump lived for the moments adjacent to the track, the field events and the cross country courses. He died Thursday, at age 88, at his home in Cornwall Manor, but the moments he captured, the relationships he built and the passion he shared lives on through those who experienced them.
“He captured so much joy and some of the most amazing things that happened to athletes in their careers,” said Gretchen Colwell, Donegal’s former head track and field coach. ‘’And on the coaching side, there are moments he caught of me as a coach that are some of my best memories. When I see them in a photograph, I can feel that memory. I know that’s the same for the kids.”
Trump absorbed those memories as a PIAA tack and field and cross country official for 35 years until he retired from officiating in 2013. For 20 of those years, he officiated alongside his wife, Louise. Because of their dedication to the sport, they were inducted into the Lancaster-Lebanon League Hall of Fame together in 2015. They also volunteered at middle school and college events.
“He was excellent,” said Bob Ernst, a longtime cross country and distance coach with McCaskey before his own retirement in 2015. “He was very fair to all the kids.”
Trump, who graduated from Lebanon High School and Penn State University, returned to the Lebanon area in the 1980s after a stint in western Pennsylvania.
He volunteered in the Elco athletic office, operating the clock for football and soccer games, and wrestling matches.
Doug Bohannon was an Elco athlete in the 1980s. When Bohannon took over as the school’s athletic director years later, Trump showed his sense of humor.
“He would always tell me that he remembered when I played football,” Bohannon said, “and that I was slow as molasses, didn’t have a good arm and my son was so much better than me.”
Colwell traded playful barbs with Trump as well, sending him Kelly green apparel to represent Donegal in an attempt counter Trump’s boasts about Elco.
“He always had hidden pearls of wisdom in there, even when he was razzing you,” Colwell said. “There was something in there that he wanted you to learn.”
Away from the track, Colwell shared dinners with the Trumps, trading stories and photos with Bob from their respective travels.
With Bohannon, Trump took in football games on Friday nights. He loved Elco sports, but he also appreciated performances across the Lancaster-Lebanon League, such as Cocalico football’s veer offense under Dave Gingrich and Cedar Crest’s spirited track and field efforts under Rob Bare.
“He loved people who were professional and who had a lot of character and integrity,” Bohannon said. “That’s who he loved to follow, and he really appreciated that. It was true sportsmanship when it came to that stuff.”
“Another thing that really impressed me,” Colwell said, “was that a man his age could still relate to 15, 16, 17 and 18-year-olds. He could still get them to smile and crack them up and talk the sport with them.”
Trump captured thousands of moments in thousands of photos, a mix of candid and action shots. He sat at the finish line under everything from blistering heat to heavy downpours to snow flurries while wearing his trademark blue Dickies pants, a light blue long-sleeved dress shirt, white sneakers and layers of thermal wear to stay warm when needed.
His work showed up on his labor-of-love website, bobtrump.com, which provided the L-L League’s top performances, individual results, cross country standings, course maps and links to other resources.
“His comment always was, ‘It’s on my website. Get on my website. Get on my website,’” Bohannon said. “He was so proud of his website.”
Beyond Trump’s website, his legacy lives on in the Bob and Louise Trump Invitational, an annual middle school track and field meet held at Elco.
Trump’s family plans to host a celebration of life with details to be determined. And the collective cross country and track and field community has moments Trump captured and the memories he created.