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Dick Trimble, founder of Trimble’s Cycle Center, dies

Published 11:41am Friday, August 17, 2012

One of the hardest-working men in Austin died early this morning.

Dick Trimble, 84, the founder of what would become Trimble’s Cycle Center, passed away Friday at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.

“It was time,” said Cheryl Greenman, Dick’s daughter. “My father had nine lives and he lived them all. He had a good life.”

Dick Trimble was born on March 18, 1928, in Clear Lake, Iowa, though he grew up in Austin and Brownsdale. After finishing his sophomore year at Austin High School, he joined the Marine Corp., serving for two years in Pearl Harbor, China and Guam. When he came back, he worked at Park Motors doing auto body repairs, and married the love of his life, Marlys Brekke, on Oct. 25, 1952.

It wasn’t until 1954 that Dick, at 26 years old, first opened Trimble’s. At first it was a gas station, but it would grow to become much more through Dick’s hard work ethic. In 1960, Trimble’s started selling motorcycles, and today, it’s the second oldest Honda motorcycle shop in the U.S.

“He just believed in work, work, work,” said Jeff, Dick’s son and one of the owners of Trimble’s Cycle Center, Inc. Jeff remembers working at Trimble’s starting when he was 12, which was about the only time he could see his dad.

“He worked seven days a week,” Jeff said. “It was a struggle.”

Dick’s two other sons, Gary and Scott, attested to Dick’s work ethic. Scott said without a doubt, that is what he remembers most.

“He was never one to stand around,” he said.



Aside from an enormous passion for work, Dick loved tooling on cars, and eventually motorcycles. He even raced motorcycles and flat beds for a time in the 1950s, though he soon quit early into the 1960s. His love was one reason Trimble’s started offering full auto service.

“He just believed in good, hard work and he did a little bit of everything,” Jeff said.

Dick never slowed down during his life, always energetically working. He and Marlys had six children, Gary, Debi, Jeff, Scott, Kathy and Cheryl, and when his sons bought him out of Trimble’s in 1993, Dick still worked at the shop.

It took ailing health and his battles with emphysema and COPD to get Dick to retire, in February of last year. Working on cars into his 80s, it seemed Dick would never quit working for a while.

Dick was hospitalized earlier this week with another bout of pneumonia, and it appeared treatment wasn’t going to make him better this time around. Dick passed away early this morning.

“The guy was a go-getter,” Jeff said.

Dick always had a sense of humor, and many say he was quick-witted with his verbal jabs. Last month, when his brother died, Dick asked the funeral director at Clasen-Jordan whether the family could get a two-for-one special for the same day, so he could go, too.

“He was very funny. He was very witty,” Cheryl said. “Everything he said was funny.”

Yet Dick also believed in good work, and the kindness of others. Dick always told his sons to have full-service gas, where an attendant pumps for you, instead of making customers pump their own. To this day, Trimble’s still operates under that philosophy.

“He was a great man,” Cheryl said.

Scott added that while Dick wasn’t one to give you a hug, he showed affection in other ways.

“He came across as ornery, but he would do anything for anyone to help them out,” he said.


Arrangements are pending with the Clasen-Jordan Mortuary.


—Adam Harringa contributed to this report.

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