John Trojian, of Mays Landing, was the first white person to attend the all-black Immanuel Lutheran College Seminary in Greensboro, N.C., he said. That was in 1956.

After graduation, he became a circuit pastor for black congregations in High Point, Southern Pines and Winston-Salem through 1964, before moving to a white congregation in Easton, Md., he said.

“I was there at the Woolworth’s sit-ins,” the 81-year-old said of the peaceful protest against the Greensboro store’s refusal to serve blacks at its lunch counter. It started Feb. 1, 1960, and ended with the store serving its first black customers at the counter July 25, 1960.

He and his first wife endured harassment by police and suspicion from other whites, he said.

Trojian had grown up in an integrated community in West New York, Hudson County, attended the University of Houston and served in the military during the Korean conflict. Then he wanted to go to seminary, and when a black friend said he was attending one in North Carolina, Trojian decided to go, too.

It was the first incarnation in a life that has also included acting off-Broadway, earning his Ph.D. and running a counseling practice in Canada, working at a psychiatric hospital, and teaching at a high school and a community college.

He and wife Marie moved to Mays Landing almost 10 years ago.

The father of five children, including Canadian documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Trojian, he has self-published children’s books, novels “At All Cost,” and “Deception at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” as well as a marriage and family counseling book, “Conflict and Resolution,” he said.

Running for a cause

A.J. Stelacio, of Rio Grande, Middle Township, will run the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 28 to raise $2,000 for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, in honor of his grandfather, who lives with the disease.

This will be his first full marathon. To support him, call 800-457-6676 or visit

Music director’s new role

Jed Gaylin, music director of the Bay Atlantic Symphony, is the new music director of the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

He will continue in both positions, according to Bay Atlantic. Gaylin is also principal guest conductor of the National Radio and Film Philharmonic, principal conductor of the Cape May Music Festival and music director of the Johns Hopkins Symphony Orchestra.

Gaylin lives in Baltimore with his wife, poet and essayist, Lia Purpura, and their son.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219