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Trotman founded The Navigators in 1933 and through this worldwide Christian organization supported various Christian ideals: maintaining the basic disciplines of the Christ-centered Spirit-filled life, abiding in the Word of God, the importance of personal follow-up, one-on-one discipleship training, scripture memorization, and principles for multiplying Christian disciples, laborers, and equippers around the world. He lost his own life on June 18, 1956 while rescuing a girl, Allene Beck, from drowning during water-skiing in Schroon Lake, New York.
Dr. Billy Graham said: "I think Daws has personally touched more lives than anybody I have ever known." His work and writings were instrumental in the creation of the Campus Outreach ministry, which focuses on discipleship as a method of building up the community of Christians on college campuses.
Trotman married Lila Mae Clayton on 3 July 1932. Lila, who was born on 12 December 1913 in Buffalo Valley, Tennessee, died on 27 October 2004 at the age of 90. The couple had four children.
Trotman worked with many other evangelicals of his day, including Henrietta Mears, Jim Rayburn, Charles E. Fuller, and Dick Hillis. Lorne Sanny (born 22 November 1920, Granville, Ohio; died 28 March 2005, Colorado Springs, Colorado ) succeeded him as president of The Navigators after Lila was its short-term interim president.
- Do what others can not and will not do.
- The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started.
The board of the student association Navigators Studentenvereniging Rotterdam has a goldfish named Daws, after the founder of the Navigators.
Skinner, Betty Lee (1974). Daws: The Story of Dawson Trotman, Founder of the Navigators (Paperback). Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-32801-2.
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