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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Faye Trimble turns 103

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

103-year-young Faye Trimble and her feathered friend. Photo by Dan Whitney
Cherokee resident Faye Trimble joined an exclusive club on April 17th, when she joined Kat Hanlon as the only two local citizens who are 103 years old.

Faye was born in Webster City on April 17, 1905, to Fred and Josephine Carpenter Brown, the third of their five children (three boys and two girls). She started country school at age four, and said she was very frightened and had to be coaxed into going back for a second day. But go back she did, traveling in a horse-drawn "bus" with the other children - a situation which could be very cold on Iowa winter days.

Faye lived with her family on a farm near Renwick, Iowa. She lost her father when she was just 11, but still has vivid memories of him 90+ years later, and can still quote important life lessons he taught her about the importance of telling the truth.

Faye completed high school at Renwick Consolidated School and went on to attend Iowa State Teachers College at Cedar Falls, graduating with a two year degree.

Faye taught country school for two years, then accepted a job as a fourth grade teacher at Arnold's Park, and that is where she met Clyde Trimble, who was the Superintendent of Schools. The two married in 1929 and that marked the end of Faye's teaching days, as teachers were not allowed to be married in those days. The Trimbles were at Arnold's Park for six years following their marriage, then Clyde became the Superintendent of Schools at Terril. While there, they became surrogate parents for two girls, Arlene and Bernice Wray, whose parents were killed in a car-train accident. The two girls, who are now deceased, remained with them through the remainder of their school days, before heading out into the adult world.

Clyde Trimble went into the furniture business with his brother in Perry for a few years and then he, Faye, and the girls moved to Cherokee in 1940, opening their own furniture store in downtown Cherokee. After a couple of years, Clyde was called into the service to instruct servicemen in math skills at Great Lake Naval Base in the Chicago area. The Trimbles sold the furniture business before they left town. Faye said she was also able to find employment herself at the base commissary, and I later found out that she sold an engagement ring to my future father-in-law, Orville Winterhof, who was also stationed at Great Lakes at the time. I told her this, and she was very pleased to hear that, and also that my in-laws were still happily married after 61+ years.

Clyde finished his 32 months of service in Washington, D.C., and when he and Faye discussed where they would like to settle down, they decided they liked Cherokee and the people there. Upon their return to Cherokee, they again opened a furniture store on Main Street, located where Carey's Furniture is currently located. Faye said she believes Trimble's Furniture was open for "about 15 years" this second time before Clyde decided to retire. Faye said with a chuckle that Clyde was never able to "really" retire, though. He served as the City Clerk of Cherokee for several years, and also held the distinction of receiving the very first paycheck at the Cherokee Wilson Foods plant, when he was employed as the plant's first Personnel Director. Faye believes that Clyde was employed at Wilson's (now Tyson Foods, of course) for about three years.

Clyde and Faye were able to do some traveling in later years, though, including a trip to California, where they visited their "daughter" Arlene Wray.

The Trimbles built their home in Cherokee in 1956, and Faye continues to live there today. Clyde passed away in 1994, but Faye is pretty active for a soon-to-be 103-year-old. She said she did quit driving when she was 100, but has a friend who checks in on her frequently, brings her some baked goods, and sometimes "runs errands" for her.

Faye's closest living relative is one of her brother's daughters, who lives in Las Vegas. She and her son were planning on coming to Cherokee to help Faye celebrate her birthday, and Faye said she had to get the house ready for their visit.

As I left, Faye said "goodbye," and added cheerfully "See you next year!"

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