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April 8, 2013

Resident counts his blessings

NORMAN — Preston Trimble refers to himself as “a blessed man.” He counts the blessings on three fingers. “A full belly. Good health. Someone who cares about me.”

This former district attorney and district judge is focused on living each day to the fullest.

“Everyone is going to die,” said the man in his eighth decade. “The secret is to live each day” — and this from a man who faced death from a heart attack but who intends to keep moving and practicing law until the end.

His story is not one that started on a solid footing. He spent many of his earliest years in campgrounds for migrant workers in California. Back and forth between California and Oklahoma, Trimble said “we moved every time the rent was due.”

He ended up in high school in Pryor living with relatives, supporting his mother and three sisters delivering papers for two Tulsa newspapers, morning and evening.

With an eye to his own future, and intent on breaking the cycle of poverty that he had grown up with, Trimble entered the Navy to get the GI bill. With a father who was in and out of the home and could not be relied on, he said, “I listed my mother and sisters as dependents, and I sent home $50 every month for four years. That left me $13 for myself each month.”

By the time he left the Navy, his family was in California “so I could attend school there or in Oklahoma. I looked around at USC and UCLA. Too many people. I came to OU and have never left Norman.”

The GI bill carried him through school and he said “the government made a good investment in me. I now pay more in taxes than the government spent on educating me through law school. If it wasn’t for the GI bill, I would have been running a filling station in Mayes County and I wouldn’t own it.”

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