Valerine Mavis Trickey
February 8, 1929 – March 11, 2020
TRICKEY, Valerine M. On March 11, 2020 Valerine M. Trickey passed away in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she and her husband of 72 years, Howard “The Hat” had lived for 52 years. While Val and Howard loved Florida, Wisconsin was always home to them. Val was born on February 8, 1929 in Dunn County in the township of Lucas. She lived in Knapp, Wisconsin until she met her lifelong friend, companion and husband.
Over the Christmas Holidays in 1945, Val was taking care of a neighbor with the flu who lived alone at the time, Maggie Trickey. When delivering chicken soup to Maggie, Maggie’s son Howard answered the door. Howard had just returned from WII’s Pacific Theater. Something connected Val and Howard for the next 72 years.
Like many other women of her generation, Val supported the war effort by packing rations to send to the troops in both the European and the Pacific Theatres. She boarded a bus in Knapp, Wisconsin to a packaging and processing center in Richmond, Wisconsin every day. She was 15 years old when she boarded a school bus each morning for the ride to Richmond.
Without Val’s support, there would have been no Howard “The Hat”. She encouraged his dream to go into radio broadcasting and eventually television. Howard worked as an engineer for General Mills but kept bringing up his desire to go into broadcasting. Val finally told him to move on with it or drop it. She helped him enroll in the Brown Institute of the Air to get the necessary radio operator’s license to apply for a radio broadcasting job. Howard’s first job did not go well because of his voice quality and delivery. After losing his first job and being told to pursue another career, Val went out and bought a reel-to-reel audio tape recorder on credit for Howard to use for practice. While they could not afford the tape recorder at the time, it turned into a good investment. The practice on the tape recorder improved Howard’s voice, timing and delivery. Howard’s career was launched only because of Val’s support and encouragement. Val continued to play a role in their joint success in the broadcasting industry for their entire joint career.
The Trickey family moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1956, when Howard started to work at WEAU-TV. Howard did the weather and made the show into more than a forecast. While there are some conflicting stories about where the idea of the “Hats” came from, Val probably deserves no of the credit. When “Walk-Up the Creek” came down each night to the deliver the joke that went along with Howard’s cartoon, Val had been the one that searched through the joke books for the punch line each night. Over the years, Val curated more than 7,000 jokes for Howard. She had an eye and a knack for the best punch line.
While in Eau Claire, Val pursued her own education and interests. She studied for a real estate broker’s license and passed the test on her first attempt in 1961. Most firms would not hire a woman reasoning it would take a job away from a man. She persisted, was eventually hired, and worked for several years in the real estate business. Later, she excelled in retail sales at Vanderbie’s Jewelers.
During the 1960 Wisconsin Presidential Primary, WEAU-TV hosted a debate between John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. A couple of days before the debate, the WEAU General Manager called Val to see if she could host Rose Kennedy while in town for the debate. Of course, she did, even though she was very nervous to meet the matriarch of the Kennedy family. Mrs. Kennedy was very nice and asked Val to show her around town. Among other stops on the tour, Val took her to Carson Park and gardens around town. In telling her story about the day she spent as a tour guide, Val always remarked on how comfortable Mrs. Kennedy made her feel and how she liked Eau Claire.
After leaving Eau Claire in 1967, Howard took on management positions in Sales and eventually became the General Manager of a number of TV stations around the country. When they moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, Howard led the Hubbard Broadcasting effort to build and manage WTOG-44. Shortly after getting the station on the air, Val started working as the traffic manager. The traffic manager created the logs that placed the television advertising into the program time slots for the entire broadcast day. The job required precision, attention to detail, and strict enforcement of a set of rules. Val became an informal chief of staff for the station. She played the same role in over 25 other stations Howard managed, including some Petracom stations that Howard owned with partner Hank Ash. She had the ability to deliver succinct, blunt and honest advise.
Val’s greatest satisfaction in life was being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were a source of joy and happiness to her. She would light up in their presence.
She observed an annual ritual of baking Christmas Cookies of a varied and delicious assortment. She carefully packed and shipped the cookies all over the country for many years. She did her best to teach her children and grandchildren to live by the Wisconsin values of kindness and respect for others, empathy and honesty. She often told the story of being the poor farm girl from the country who did not have nice shoes or fashionable clothes when she went to school. She would not tolerate making fun of someone because they were different. She taught the value of hard work as the only way to improve your life.
Her husband preceded Val in death. Her son, Howard and daughter in law Kenna Sue, survive her. She is also survived by her devoted daughter, Colleen. Howard was a trial and appellant lawyer in Alaska for most of his career, and Colleen, a partner in the Trickey Jennus advertising firm in Tampa. Her grandchildren are Maureen Mueller, a lawyer and her husband Jeff; Brendan Trickey, engineer and businessman, and his wife Emily, and Nicole Baruth, a high school math teacher. Her great-grandchildren are Aidan Baruth (11), Evan Baruth (8), Sloane Mueller (7), Jack Mueller(3) and Sage Trickey (11 months) She will be missed by all her family and will forever remain in our hearts.
The family now lives from coast-to-coast, a private ceremony will take place pending safer travel conditions.
Arrangements were made under the direction of Garden Sanctuary Funeral Home, 7950 131st Street, Seminole, FL 33776 / 727-391-0121.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Valerine Mavis Trickey
April 7, 2020
I was so sad to hear of Val's passing. Of course, to me she will always be Mrs. Trickey. You see, I have known her since I was a young girl. She and Mr. Trickey(Howard) were dear friends of my parents, Jim & Marge Tomlin. Howard and Dad were in the broadcasting business and their paths crossed often and they worked together too. Naturally, our families became friends. I will always remember the laughter in our home when the Trickey's came to visit. Lots of stories and good times will always be remembered. Over the years, jobs took us here and there but the Trickey and Tomlin families stayed in touch. After my Dad passed away in 1997, Howard and Val remained friends with my mom. Now, fast forward to more recent years. Mom, Howard and Val are living in St Petersburg and get together often for lunch and keep track of each other's families...all those wonderful grandchildren and great-grands! I move back to Florida 5 years ago and join in the fun! Of course, wonderful Colleen was always part of our get togethers. Colleen and I had not seen each other in many years but we picked up right where we left off...don't you just love a friendship like that? I do! We laughed, shared pictures, had a beer, went down memory lane which led to more smiles and laughter. I so enjoyed each time we would get together...now I will cherish those special times. I think Howard and Val were just the cutest couple ever! Howard with his quick wit and Val with her genuine interest in you and your life. Such beautiful people. They both will be missed by me and by their beautiful family. But, aren't we grateful they were in our lives? YES!!
So, I will end with this...my life is better and blessed because I knew Val and her beautiful family. I imagine she and Howard are in heaven having a drink with my Dad...that makes me smile!
Yes, they will be missed...but never forgotten.
God Bless you Mrs. Trickey!
Until we meet again...
April 4, 2020
I always felt so blessed to have Val, my late brother Paul's mother-law, in my life and to feel a part of such a special family. Val shared wonderful, insightful stories and personal experiences with candor, humor and grace that at times she seemed more like a contemporary than a role model from the "Greatest Generation".
She was sassy, always put together and openly showed her enduring life long love & respect for "Papa".
The special moments I was privileged to spend with Val are now memories I will cherish with gratitude.
Love , Sharon
April 4, 2020
When I first got to know Val well, it was in early 1987, after I had proposed that Howard and I start a management company to oversee the operation and disposal of TV and Radio stations owned by the then-defunct Family Group Broadcasting. Although I had, by that time, known Howard for a couple of years, I had only very briefly become acquainted with Val. Since one aspect of managing the stations was going to involve Howard possibly moving to one or more of the markets to help revive those stations that were struggling, I thought it would be prudent that we jointly discuss this with Val. Not only did she give her consent, but she said she would go wherever Howard was needed and would help in the stations. That was my first glimpse of what a perfect life partnership existed between these two amazing people.
Not long after starting Broadcast Management Associates, it was decided that Howard would move to Roanoke, Virginia, to see if he could salvage that TV station. True to her word, Val accompanied him and proved a valuable addition to the management of the station, as had been exhibited so vividly in other markets owned by Family Group, including La Crosse/Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Biloxi, Mississippi.
Val continued to be strongly supportive of Howard's working with our new company, Petracom, as we operated stations in Beaumont, Texas, Rockford, Illinois, Springfield, Missouri, Evansville, Indiana, Monroe, Louisiana, and Lubbock, Texas. Later, she would follow Howard to Show Low, Arizona, where they jointly oversaw our Radio stations there for several months.
As much as Val loved Howard, I always thought she may have loved her kids and grandkids maybe even more! She always spoke of Colleen and Howard, Jr., in such glowing terms and with such love that it was easy to see how the Trickey family had grown so strong over the years.
Val's cheery disposition and smile will be missed, but I know that she and Howard are now together for eternity.
April 1, 2020
This is one of my favorite pictures of Mom & Dad. As they began to age and I was spending more time with them I saw this scene many times over. They were always holding hands. They never left one another without an intentional goodbye and a "peck" on the cheek.