|Birth:||6 July 1913|
Harrison, Arkansas, USA
|Death:||16 June 2021|
Wewoka, Oklahoma, USA
|Age:||107 years, 345 days|
Vance Henry Trimble (July 6, 1913 – June 16, 2021) was an American journalist and writer. Trimble won a Pulitzer prize in 1960 for national reporting about nepotism and payroll abuse in the U.S. Congress . He has worked in the newspaper business for over fifty years. He turned 100 years old in July 2013.
Trimble was born in Harrison, Arkansas on July 6, 1913. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a poet and writer. Trimble's father was the mayor of Harrison, and in 1919 a railroad strike on the Missouri led to mob rule in the town. His father took the side against the mob rule and was essentially forced out of town. The family travelled to Okemah, Oklahoma in 1920 to start a new life. Trimble and his family lived in Okemah until 1929 when they moved to Wewoka. He graduated from Wewoka High School in 1931. At age 18, Trimble married Elzene Trimble on January 9, 1932. The two met in high school when they both worked on the school newspaper. Elzene worked at a florist shop and Trimble lost his job a week after they wed, which led to their cross country travels in order to find employment.
During the Depression, Trimble worked wherever he could write. He maintained two to three newspaper jobs around the Seminole and Maud area, but only for a limited amount of time. Eventually, Trimble and his wife took to the road to find him a newspaper job. Along the way Trimble would repair typewriters, adding machines, and cash registers for money. After a year and a half, Trimble got jobs in Muskogee, Tulsa, and Okmulgee. The dailies he worked for include: the Seminole Morning News, Seminole Producer, Okmulgee Times, and Muskogee Phoenix.
In 1939, Trimble joined Scripps Howard as a copy editor for the Houston Press. Within six months, Trimble was promoted to city editor. Trimble served in the Army during World War II for two years, and when he returned was appointed managing editor of the Houston Press in 1950. In 1955, Trimble was transferred to the Scripps Howard Washington bureau as news editor. In this position, Trimble found his job to be duller than his previous job in Houston and decided to look for stories to investigate outside of his normal requirements. Trimble came across a book about nepotism in Congress that had been published thirty years prior. He looked into current payrolls and found that around twenty percent of Congress had family members on their payroll. After running this story in the Washington Daily News, Trimble had a daily story for six months. As a result of his work, in 1960, Trimble was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Some years later President Lyndon Johnson decided to open up the payroll records of the Senate to bring them up to date.
Trimble stayed in DC until 1963 when he was appointed editor of the Kentucky Post in Covington, Kentucky. He served at the Kentucky Post until 1979.
Retirement & Death
Trimble's wife, Elzene, died on July 5, 1999. The two were married for 67 years. Trimble constructed a monument to his wife where she was buried in Wewoka. Though he had retired in Kentucky, Trimble moved back to Wewoka to be closer to his wife even in death. When asked the secret to a long life, Trimble responded, "stay in love." He published numerous books since his retiring
Trimble Died on 16 June 2021 in Wewoka, Oklahoma, USA, at the age of 107 years, 345 days.
- Widower pays tribute to wife with memorial / Wewoka singing tower to be dedicated today News OK, 14 February 2003 (Archived)
- Wewoka author, journalist is one of Oklahoma's hidden gems News OK, 29 June 2013 (Archived)
- History interview with Vance Trimble - Oklahoma 100 Year Life Oral History Project - Digital Collections Oklahoma State University, 16 July 2013
- Harrison gave birth to Pulitzer winner — Vance Trimble, 100 Harrison Daily Times, 20 August 2013
- My dad, Vance Trimble, new haircut at 106! Thanks Sharon! Carol Ann Nordheimer on Facebook, 1 June 2020
- Happy 107th Birthday, Vance! Seminole Nation Museum on Facebook, 6 July 2020
- Legendary editor of The Kentucky Post, author Vance Trimble, dies at age 107 in Wewoka, Oklahoma | NKyTribune