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Jane Trimble

Denton, TX, 1944 - 2014

Jane Trimble, 70, a veteran journalist and a former news editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle, died Thursday in a Dallas hospital.
Although she won numerous state and regional prizes for her news articles, feature stories and editorials, the journalists who worked with her and for her were more apt to remember her wise counsel and tough-but gentle mentoring that launched many young writers and editors on their career paths.
She was also "the funnest," according to her grandson, Turner Gray, who with his sister Camryn, never tired of Grandma Jane's droll, fanciful stories and her love of silly games.
Jane Ann Ramos Trimble was born June 10, 1944 in Fort Smith, Ark., a daughter of the late Joseph and Naomi Thompson Ramos. She was a graduate of St. Anne's Academy in Fort Smith and of Webster University in Webster Groves, Mo.
She began her journalism career in 1984 as a reporter for the Fort Smith Times Record in Fort Smith, Ark, and rose to the rank of managing editor before becoming executive editor of the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial in 1991.
In 1994 she was named publisher of the Weatherford Democrat in Parker County, where she worked for almost three years before coming to Denton as a city hall reporter, later being promoted to news editor, where she supervised the paper's copy desk, developed training programs for reporters and editors and served as the editor of the paper's Opinion Page, for which she wrote the daily editorials.
In 2000, she began working at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as a commercial-projects editor, developing, researching, writing and producing special sections for the paper.
During her 30 years in daily journalism, Ms. Trimble won 16 Arkansas Press Association awards for reporting, feature writing, editorial writing, page design and general newspaper excellence. She won the 1999 first-place award for editorial writing from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the 2002 Texas State Teachers' Association School Bell Award for her production of a special section on education in the Record-Chronicle.
But her greatest value to the newspapers she served may have been her ability to recognize and develop raw journalistic talent, often in inchoate journalists who had little experience in the business. She developed a copy-editing test for DRC applicants that uncovered latent word skills in applicants who didn't know they had any. She mentored her charges gently but firmly, and not all of her lessons were about grammar and journalistic style.
When one brilliant but prickly young editor once noted a colleague's error with a sarcastic rebuke, Ms. Trimble took her aside later and gently told her that running a news desk was about more than being right all of the time. "You are probably going to be the smartest person on the desk at any paper you work for," Ms. Trimble told the young editor, "but nobody is going to listen to you if you treat them like they're idiots."
That editor now works on the copy desk of The New York Times, where she may still be the smartest person on the desk, though she tries not to show it.
Mrs. Trimble is survived by her husband, Mike Trimble of Denton; a daughter, Erin Gray of Little Rock, Ark.; two grandchildren, Turner Gray and Camryn Gray of Little Rock; a beloved sister and brother-in law, Debra and Gary Allen of Fort Smith; a brother, Judge Joseph Ramos and his wife, Mary Ann Ramos, of Charleston, Ark.; a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Pat T. Patterson and Carrick H. Patterson of Little Rock; a nephew, Heath Allen of Fayetteville, Ark.; a niece, Lacy Hobbs of Fort Smith; an aunt, Jean Laws of Fort Smith, and several great nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Trimble will be cremated; no formal services are planned. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Denton Animal Shelter or to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Published December 6, 2014