James A. Trenary, 86, passed through the curtain into Jesus arms on Friday, February 7 at Monument Health Hospice House, surrounded by his children. Jim was born December 5, 1933 in Fort Yates, ND to Orville and Cora (Bickford) Trenary.
Dad never had a place he could call home as a child, moving from town to town, the child of parents who took on jobs wherever they could find one. They lived in North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and so forth. Orville was called to duty in WWII, and saw some horrific things in his service to his country. A part of him never returned and as a result of PTSD, left his family when Jim was 8 years old. You can imagine this left a scar on dad, this turned him into a fiercely independent person, having to fight early on and go to work at far too early of an age, to help support his family. This also helped shape him into the best father anyone could ever have, as he was determined to be the father he never had. When dad hit his teen years, Cora met and married William (Chester) Johnson who worked as a traveling oil field laborer. They settled in Newcastle, Wyoming, where dad always liked to call his home town. Dad attended high school there and was proud of his days as a “Dogie”, playing football and trying to stay out of jail. He worked the oil fields in the area, right alongside his step-dad Chester. Dad and a group of his friends attempted to join the Wyoming National Guard and attended a couple drills and drove their equipment when they discovered he was only 16 and booted him out.
Jim then met and dated Mary Ellen Pullins, who was from Lead, SD. He used to tell me of his trips to Lead across the old highway from Newcastle, no matter the weather, just to get a kiss, and hold her hand. They married November 2, 1952 and were married for just short of 62 years when mom passed away in 2014. Then dad got old enough to legally join the military and enlisted in the army. He was stationed primarily in Alaska, which he truly loved, but he could not afford to take mom with him, and she remained in Newcastle and worked until dad finished his enlistment. This was a true sacrifice for newlyweds to make, but he had a plan. Dad always had a plan. When he got out of the regular Army, he enlisted in the National Guard and went back to the oil fields. In 1955 he discovered there was such a thing as a 40-hour work week and began his career with MDU, and stayed there until 1996, 40 years of service! It was then mom and dad started a family. Dad stayed in the SDNG for 30 years, serving as a platoon sergeant for many people. In fact, the other day I received condolences from a previous Adjutant General with fond memories of when dad was his platoon sergeant. Dad was a proud man, but not a prideful man, had he known of this recognition, he would have appreciated it, but would not be boastful about it. Dad had started the OCS program when they drilled in Mitchell, but when the travel interfered with family, as always dad chose family, and never looked back. He could always be found at the ballfields coaching little league, and was a past president of Rushmore Little League. He was always nearby his children with whatever activities they were involved with. He continued this with his grandchildren, which were his pride and joy. Dad was the consummate family man, our role model and hero. Dad enjoyed camping trips with Mary and Kevin, and was a past wagon master for the Rushmore Ramblers Camping Club
Dad was a caregiver, always looking after people, but fiercely independent and did not want anyone looking after him. When dad began his walk with Jesus, he heard of his biological father dying, and with mom’s urging went to meet him when he was on his deathbed, and forgave Orville, who he had not seen for around 50 years. A relationship with his half-brothers and sisters developed from this. Mary had a heart attack, and as a result, had many health issues, and dad tirelessly looked after her for over 20 years, when she passed away in 2014. Without missing a beat, he then looked after his son through cancer treatment. He also volunteered for Meals on Wheels for several years. He was also very proud of being a top blood donor, with the rare O- blood type. Dad then met Lila through the widow’s/ widower’s group. They fell instantly in love and married a short time later. They enjoyed some good times together, but Alzheimer’s then slowly crept in. His favorite pass-time was fishing and spending time with family.
Grateful for sharing our lives with him are his second wife Lila Doud; daughter Danita (Lyle) Konst, son Kelly (Judy) Trenary, and daughter Teresa (Larry deceased) Hill, all of Rapid City; in addition he loved his grandchildren Kevin Dykstra Denver, Co., Emily (Michael) Hatheway, Jon Konst, Ben Hill, Matthew Bowman, Brandon (Jessica) Burton, Los Angeles, CA. He is also leaving a legacy of 5 great- grandchildren; his half brothers and sisters and numerous nieces and nephews; and his new family of in-laws, whom he loved dearly. Waiting for him in heaven are his first wife Mary, his parents, his sister Leora Lantz and brother Ronny, son-in-law Larry, and numerous nieces and nephews.