Donald E. “Don” Trine, 75, of Marshall, retired Fire Marshal for the City of Battle Creek Fire Department, went home to his Lord on Sunday morning, July 19, 2020 in the care of his beloved wife Peg, Daughter Joye, son-in-law Tom and grandchildren at his home.
Don was born on October 16, 1944 in Marshall to William Sylvester and Mary Belle (Thornton) Trine, along with his twin Ronald. From that day forward to this, the mention of “the Trine Twins” became legendary inspiring either great fear or great joy in people!
Don grew up in Marshall and spent most of his life here. He was a member of the Marshall High School Graduating Class of 1962. While in High School he worked for George Weed Service Station in downtown Marshall and helped on Fred Parker’s farm among a myriad of other jobs. Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduation on July 11, 1962 to serve four years.
Don earned the rank of E-3 on June 12, 1964. Don served as part of an aircrew with Patrol Squadron Forty-Two , USN for two tours in Vietnam. He was trained in Jet Aircraft maintenance and flew missions in a VP-42 with Crew 12 “The Elite Of The Fleet Seademons”! He served as 1st Mechanic. He was honorably discharged on April 22, 1966.
Later in life Don reached out to his fellow air crew members he served with and organized reunions, that they enjoyed over the years.
While Don was stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on Whidbey Island, Washington, he encountered a beautiful young woman (Don’s words!) Peggy Thompson. Don was completely smitten! Peggy returned to her parents’ home in San Diego. After his honorable discharge he promptly visited Peggy in San Diego and stayed till he convinced Peggy to marry him! Don and Peggy were married in San Diego on March 18, 1967.
The couple returned to Marshall after their marriage where they have made their home and raised their family. Don started his career with the Battle Creek Fire Department on July 12, 1967. He enlisted in the Fire Science Program at Kellogg Community College and graduated Cum Laude with his Associates Degree in Fire Science in 1976. Don loved his work and was dedicated to it. He continued to improve his knowledge of Fire Science, Fire Investigation and Hazardous Materials Abatement throughout his career, attending several specialized academies at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD. He served on the Battle Creek Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team after receiving his certificate in Haz-Mat Operations from the National Fire Academy in 1975. He was promoted to the position of Fire Marshal for the City of Battle Creek in 1986 and achieved the rank of Captain. He worked with the Battle Creek Police Department Detective Reese Merrill and the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal Division in investigating fires and arson fires in Battle Creek until his retirement on November 3, 1993. He worked for Harris Investigations after his retirement as a Fire Investigator. He was called to do fire investigations around the state for insurance companies for the next six years. He retired in 1999 from Harris. He also worked for the Calhoun County Sheriff Office as a process server.
Don was first and foremost very proud of his family. They were his priority. Joye and David were the apple of his eye as they grew, and he worked hard at being a good father to be sure their lives were rewarding and fulfilling. As the grandchildren came on the scene, Don and Peg became the ultimate “Team Trine Grandparents”, being there for the grandchildren as they have grown to adulthood, always available to them. The best part of his retired years.
Don was always on the go, energetic and ambitious to say the least! Husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, he was always ready to step up and help when something was needed and carried it through. He LOVED golf and amazed Peggy with his collection of drivers! Don was well known for his perfectly manicured yard! Of course, Don’s sense of humor is legendary and there isn’t enough room to even begin to remember the great moments he demonstrated that!
Don learned to fly at Brooks Field in Marshall, earning his Private Pilot License in 1989. He was a skilled pilot who was always eager to learn more. He earned Commercial, High Performance, Twin Engine and instrument Ratings to add to his license. He would fly freight trips with the FBO manager and friend Rob Williams. Don flew until a heart attack caused the loss of his medical. He enjoyed water sports, motorcycling and home projects.
He was a retired member and past president of International Association of Arson Investigators Michigan Chapter from 1991 to 1999, a retired member of International Association Of Firefighters Local #335.
Surviving are his wife Peggy, their daughter Joye (Thomas) McHale of Normal, IL, their grandchildren Mercedes K. (Nathan Splese) Trine, Connor McHale, Dalyn T. (Kaitlan) Trine, Dakota J. Trine and great-grandsons Aydin and Ezra; his twin brother Ron Trine of Marshall; nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his son David A. Trine on Dec. 8, 1995, parents, brother Michael Trine, and sister-in-law Nancy Trine, niece Melanie Gonzales and infant nephew Michael Trine.
A gathering of family and friends will be held on Wednesday, July 22, from 4PM to 8PM at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US HWY 27 North, Marshall where a Celebration of Don’s Life will be held on Thursday, July 23 at 11AM with Rev. James Codde as Celebrant and a eulogy by his lifelong friend Michael Nelson. Cremation will follow services and family committal services will be at Oakridge Cemetery.
**DUE TO COVID-19, THE FUNERAL HOME IS STILL LIMITED TO A 50 PERSON CAPACITY IN A SINGLE CONFINED SPACE. WE KINDLY ASK THAT ALL VISITORS FOLLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES, WEAR MASKS AS DIRECTED IN THE LATEST EXECUTIVE ORDER AND OBSERVE THE FUNERAL HOME DIRECTIONAL SIGNS.
***FOR THOSE UNABLE TO ATTEND, PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE, www.kempffuneralhome.com, WHERE THE SERVICE WILL BE AVAILABE TO BE WATCHED AT 11AM THURSDAY, AS WELL AS ANYTIME AFTERWARDS BY CLICKING ON THE BOX LINK.
The family suggests that you remember Don with memorial contributions to Oaklawn Hospice (www.oaklawn.org) or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org) or the Ronald McDonald House Charities (www.rmhc.org.).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald E. Trine, please visit our floral store.
Oaklawn Home Care and Hospice
13444 Preston Drive, Marshall MI 49068
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor
1600 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor MI 48104