Many Christian denom­i­na­tions cel­e­brate March 19 in hon­or of Joseph, the earth­ly father of Jesus. Described as devout Jew and car­pen­ter, the sto­ries share of his love for fam­i­ly amidst amaz­ing odds. Growing up in Catholic school, this was a spe­cial day, and I rather liked cel­e­brat­ing Father’s Day in mid-March rather than June. The birth­days of my dad and old­est broth­er fall with­in a few days of the 19th, so it was more relevant.

Jim Trimble and his brothers, with their father on the left.
Jim Trimble and his broth­ers, with their father on the left.

My dad was born a few months after, and a few miles away, from the Wall Street crash of 1929. His own dad served in the Army at the end of World War I, then grad­u­at­ed from Syracuse with a degree in busi­ness, which he used in radio adver­tis­ing. His office was in NYC, but their home was a small house in New Jersey. He didn’t talk much about liv­ing in the Great Depression, but when his mom would come to vis­it us in Kentucky many years lat­er, she always made cold pota­to soup. Old habits die hard.

Dad went through the Boy Scouts pro­gram as a young per­son, achiev­ing Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow, and the Silver Beaver, and con­tin­ued vol­un­teer­ing with troops long into adult­hood. He tried his hand at col­lege, but it didn’t work out. It was just a few years after World War II when he enlist­ed in the Air Force with train­ing in Texas, and assign­ments in New York and Connecticut. 

In his office build­ing, he was sent to the next floor down to pro­cure a type­writer from the sec­re­tar­i­al pool and ran into a young woman who would lat­er be his wife. Not too much lat­er, mind you — only five months. After two stints in the mil­i­tary, he found a tal­ent in appli­ance repair for General Electric. He was a fan­tas­tic peo­ple per­son, and the com­pa­ny saw a need for a nation­al Customer Service Manager at its grow­ing appli­ance divi­sion in Louisville. So, after find­ing Kentucky on a map, Dad moved his wife and two young chil­dren to the Bluegrass State.

It was tough for him to relo­cate away from his mom, broth­er, and many friends. It was even tougher for a 35-year-old Yankee with a young fam­i­ly to make new friends across the Mason-Dixon line. But, he per­se­vered. My folks were mem­bers of the Moose Lodge, a CB radio club, our school PTA, were active in the church, and were high school band parents. 

Dad could fix any­thing, build any­thing, imag­ine any­thing. If I had a school play or a church youth group out­ing, or if my broth­ers had sports or band events, he was there to sup­port us. He also adapt­ed well to Kentucky tobac­co and bourbon.

I was 7 years old when my mom took two of my broth­ers and me on a vaca­tion back up to New York and New Jersey to meet the rel­a­tives I’d only heard about in sto­ries around the din­ner table. What a great trip! I found out much lat­er that my mom was plan­ning on leav­ing my dad for our “Uncle Ev,” and this was a prac­tice run to see if we could live on Long Island. Thankfully, my folks worked it out and lived togeth­er for 27 more years.

During my junior year in high school, the cor­po­rate plans of GE’s Appliance Park had changed and Dad’s posi­tion with the com­pa­ny was being elim­i­nat­ed. His choic­es were to either be trans­ferred to Bermuda or find anoth­er job at the park. He chose to stay in Louisville and worked his last five years at a job he hat­ed: cat­a­loging appli­ance parts on a rinky-dink computer. 

He took ear­ly retire­ment at age 60 with two old­er sons grown and out in the world, one son a recent col­lege grad, and the youngest head­ing to the Marine Corps as an offi­cer. He spent his last ten years with chron­ic health prob­lems due to smok­ing but loved life to the fullest as best he could.

I was the first of our fam­i­ly, out­side of Dad’s father in 1922, to grad­u­ate col­lege. He would always ask about my radio-TV stud­ies and send me radio plays he’d writ­ten. A few years before he died, I moved back to Louisville to work at the pub­lic radio sta­tions there, and I would always smile hear­ing his mes­sages on my answer­ing machine, “Jim, it’s Dad. Heard you on the radio today.” 

He passed away know­ing that in a few months, I was head­ed to sem­i­nary before the birth of my son. 

Well done, good and faith­ful servant.

  • Jim Trimble

    Jim Trimble is a priest serv­ing Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Winchester. He grew up in Louisville, grad­u­at­ed from Murray State University, and worked in a vari­ety of roles at pub­lic radio sta­tions for 12 years. After sem­i­nary and ordi­na­tion, he served church­es in Kentucky and South Carolina. Married to Nancy Gift, a Berea College pro­fes­sor, he has a son and two step-daugh­ters, along with a num­ber of dogs, cats, and chick­ens near College Park.