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Legendary editor of The Kentucky Post, author Vance Trimble, dies at age 107 in Wewoka, Oklahoma

Staff report

Vance Trimble, legendary former editor of The Kentucky Post, has died in his hometown, Wewoka, Oklahoma, at age 107. He would have been 108 on July 6.

Vance Trimble

Trimble won a Pulitzer Prize, a coveted Raymond Clapper award and a top Sigma Delta Chi award in 1960 for his reporting on nepotism and corruption in Congress as reporter for the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C. He joined Scripps in 1939 as a copyeditor for the Houston Press where he became managing editor until he joined the national bureau in 1955.

In 1963, he became editor of The Kentucky Post and served in that post until 1979.

But retirement was not a word in Trimble’s extensive vocabulary. He wrote books prolificly, even into his 100’s.

His first book was The Uncertain Miracle, on hyperbaric medicine. He wrote Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America’s Richest Man, The Astonishing Mr. Scripps, The Life and Times of Happy Chandler, The Uncertain Miracle: Ronald Reagan, Faith in My Star (E.W. Scripps), Overnight Success: Federal Express and Frederick Smith, and many more. He also wrote numerous e-books.

Trimble was born in Harrison, Ark., the son of a lawyer (and the town’s mayor) and a poet and writer who directed plays. At 14, he was hired as a cub reporter at the Okemah Daily Leader, working after school for $1.50 a week. He continued his reporting career when the family moved to Wewoka at the Times-Democrat while finishing high school. It was while working the school’s newspaper that he met the love of his life, Elzene Miller.

Later the Trimbles moved to Texas, where Vance worked for dailies in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Houston.

During World War II, he was a Signal Corps staff sargeant and edited the Army newspaper in Camp Beale, Calif.

He was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1974. His papers are in the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma and at Ohio University.

Vance Trimble at 106, interviewed by Joe Hight for the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Photo by Emily Siddiqui.

“I knew I had the stuff to be editor. I was imaginative, creative, I got stuff done, and I was a good people person,” he told Joe Hight who wrote a story about him (at age 106) for the Hall of Fame.

When Trimble’s wife died in 1999 in Kentucky, he took her back to Wewoka to be buried beside her mother, and he had lived there ever since, in a home filled with Elzene’s paintings. They had been married 67 years. Their 5,000 book collection had been donated to the Wewoka Public Library and when space could not be found for it, he donated $25,000 for an expansion.

In 2013, on his 100th birthday, he told a local reporter that he had read 400 books in the last three years.

Mascular degeneration robbed him of his eyesight in his later years, but with a special computer, he kept on writing — and doing exhaustive research.

He was preceded in death by his beloved Elzene in 1999, for whom he dedicated a “singing tower” in Oakwood Cemetery in her memory, and their daughter Carol Ann Nordheimer in February 2021.

With Vance Trimble, celebrating his 100th birthday in Wewoka, Sue Porter of the E.W. Scripps Company, and Nancy Tretter, who started her long career with Scripps as Vance Trimble’s assistant at The Kentucky Post.

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One Comment

  1. Maher younsi says:

    R.I .P , Vance Trimble .

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