In memoriam: Trevor Lee Hopkins’ small stakes

Jordan Sellergren, Matt Steele and Trevor Hopkins. — via the Hopkins family

This month, Iowa City lost its Swiss Army knife, Trevor Hopkins. “Trigger,” “Sheriff,” sound guy, bartender, drummer, brother, dog dad, cook, uncle, tireless encourager, ray of social media sunshine, nickname artist, husband to wonderful Ashlee, and longtime Little Village distributor, Trevor’s big heart chose a quiet, cold, homebound Saint Patrick’s Day to finally give out overnight. He was 47, and I hope he was at peace.

Following his sudden passing, social media (and his memorial service) overflowed with remembrances from people who had ideas and aspirations that Trevor had put a nickel into at one time or another. Day after day, stories of these small stakes flooded my feed. They started to add up and, as is too often the case, I’m afraid they might have added up to more than he realized.

Trevor’s Little Village staff photo, taken by Zak Neumann

One of those endeavors that Trevor believed in was Little Village. Like anyone, we’ve had those days when it was hard to know if any of it was landing, or if we should even go on. As he was for so many others, there was a time or two when Trevor was that person for us — the one who was there, and wouldn’t hear it, and wasn’t going to let us leave until we looked each other in the eye and promised to keep going.

Trevor loved us (and, if you are reading this, that means you). I knew him for years and I still couldn’t tell his actual blood family from his chosen family, from new friends, from townies, or from musicians who had come through Iowa City only once or twice, or had one time promised/indicated that they might. He was serious about all of it — serious about answering the call! And answer he did. Honestly whether you called or not, he was still around every corner, and always making a comeback — your comeback.

Little Village staff dinner, Little Village staff dinner, Dec. 19, 2018

His ripples of encouragement spanned at least three generations, and it would be a very good thing in my opinion if they could span a couple more. He had such conviction and consistency, you have to at least consider the possibility that the truth was on his side: Maybe when he told us to keep going, that it was worth it, that we had to, that it mattered — maybe it really did. Maybe it still does.
Maybe Trevor was right, but this will be a different place without him. Our family won’t ever be the same. Hold each other close, and keep checking your pockets for Trevor. If you find him, you’ll know what to do: Help him out by putting someone up on stage, at least one more time.

This article was originally published in Little Village’s March 2023 issues.