ROBERT "BOB" THOMAS TRIMBO
December 13, 1917 ~ March 3, 2014
Robert "Bob" Trimbo passed away peacefully on March 3rd, 2014 at home with family. He lived on his own until his passing at the age of 96. He was preceded by his son, Steve (1998); grandson, Brandon (2003); and wife, Inez (2010). He is survived by his children: Barbara, Jim, Kathy, Jack, Mary, Tim, Nancy, Bill, Richard and Cheryl; his grandchildren: Tina, Michael, Tracie, Lisa, Sheri, Sean, Kris, Cari, Jason, Robby, Erin, Andy, Rachel, Kim, Chris, Tony, Sarah, Matt, Joey, Kurt, Kyle and Courtney; his great-grandchildren: Brittany, Alyssa, Jaime, Charley, Brandon, Seth, Dalin, Nicholas, William, Tony, Mackenzie, Zach, Payten, Ileah, Isaac, Evan, Makenna, Troy, Izayiah, Alex, Jacob, Maleah and Paisley; and his great-great-grandchildren: Ashton, Lily, Jamie, Jaylee and Kailynn.
Born in Henderson, Minnesota, on December 13th, 1917 to parents Michael Trimbo and Celia Doheny, Bob forged a life of ironic success and an unlucky addiction to challenges. Bob lost both parents at age 12, and was raised by his sister May. He performed his first miracle in overcoming the stigma Inez Mae Dressen had of him as being a "trouble-making friend of her brother's," and convinced her to go on a date with him, during which he purported to change a flat tire 4 times that evening. Bob joined the Army in 1941 and was stationed in Colorado Springs, where he married Inez on August 19th, 1942; he the age 24, she 20 years old. In reference to her, he frequently said he had never been single. She was the love of his life; they were married for 67 years until her passing in 2010.
World War II saw Bob placed into the Pacific Theater of combat, where he and several thousand other soldiers in tight quarters were deployed from Fort Lewis via ship and were greeted with rough seas several days later after dinner; it would be over 60 years later before he ate spaghetti again. During the Pacific campaign, Bob volunteered for a "dangerous and hazardous mission," that evolved into the Merrill's Marauders, a unit designed for jungle warfare against the Japanese in Burma. For his service, Bob was awarded the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman Badge. A movie starring Jeff Chandler would later be made loosely regarding the exploits of this unit, and when asked his thoughts of the movie's accuracy, Bob offered only "I never saw any damn women in that jungle." After the war, Bob's return to the United States saw him through 48 hours of flying time that took him to stops in Iran, Egypt, Casablanca, the Azores and Bermuda, before returning to New York, circumnavigating the globe by 1944.
Returned to Inez, Bob and his wife had 11 children over the next 16 years. During this time, he delivered heating oil for the Scott's Brothers until Bob purchased Rosemere Service Station in '56, which later became Rosemere Towing with the purchase of their first tow truck in '59. The toll of raising 11 children and working 7 very long days a week led to the eventual selling of Rosemere Towing, and the purchase of Rosemere Tavern. Bob was enchanted with the idea of having a guaranteed day off; at that time it was illegal for beer to be sold on Sundays. That particular law was changed 6 months later, returning Bob to a 7-day work week. He described this only as "his luck." Bob had quit drinking years before purchasing the tavern, and through all the subsequent years he worked he never broke his sobriety. He sold Rosemere Tavern in 1979, "retiring" to a life of continuing to work and assist in the tavern for another 20 years, growing a magnificent 1.5 acre garden, and dedicating his service and devotion to his family.
The title of son, brother, soldier, employer, friend, father and husband paled to the mantle he would wear for the next 47 years with the arrival of his first grandchild. Bob, or forever after "Grandpa," would go on to see his family swell to include 23 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren before his passing.
Bob smoked from the age of 7 to 65, and when confronted by his physician regarding his ailing health, he conceded he would not be able to break the addiction. He was informed if he continued smoking, he would not live to see his grandchildren grow up. "Grandpa" Bob never smoked another day in his life. He reaffirmed this the day before his passing, proudly stating that he never had another cigarette.
Of his many occupations, no job suited Bob better than that of Grandfather. His long life of work, courage and self-sufficient determination was not lost on his family. He often left us in wonder of his character, and always made us laugh. He would do anything for his family, and loved the opportunities he had to help his grandchildren; teacher, mentor, chauffeur. As was his nature in any endeavor he chose, his love for his grandchildren was adamantly resolute.
Bob was not a man for pity; he was stubbornly independent until his last day. He acknowledged he had no regrets, and his family was the proudest thing he had ever accomplished. In looking back to his early days in Minnesota, his response in wonder to whether or not he would ever make it this far was an ever familiar Bob quote, "Hell no."
As was his nature, he passed the way he wanted; in his home, with family, with no regrets.
We are better people for having known him, having had him in our lives, and our loss is tremendous in the wake of his passing.
We love you Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, and Great-Great-Grandfather.
May you rest in peace.
A viewing is planned for 12:30-8:30p.m., Sunday, March 9th at Evergreen Memorial Gardens Cemetery and Funeral Chapel. Burial services will be held at 12:30p.m. at Willamette National Cemetery, Monday, March 10th.
The family respectfully asks any donations be made in the name of Bob Trimbo to Hospice Southwest, PO Box 1600, Vancouver, WA 98668.
Please sign his Guest Book at:
Evergreen Memorial Gardens Funeral Chapel
1101 NE 112th Avenue Vancouver, WA 98684
Published in The Columbian on Mar. 7, 2014