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Trevor Dean Humphrey Recalled With A Smile

January 13, 2017


May 10, 1973-January 13 1995

It was Friday, January 13, 1995 when my nephew, Trevor Dean Humphrey, lost his life on an icy stretch of road due to an over-weighted semi which lost control and crashed into his truck.  Trevor had just started a new job and was coming home from work.

In my book Walking Up The Ramp I wrote of this matter.

In January 1995, my Mom called early one morning before the sun started cracking over the horizon.  I had fallen asleep that night to a movie and was on the sofa downstairs as I reached for the phone.  I was not yet awake so the words seemed blurred when she informed me that one of my nephews had been in an accident.  I asked, “Is he OK?”  One word came back, and it was not the word as much as the tone and choked response of “No” that settled like a boulder on my chest.  Trevor Dean had been killed in a highway traffic accident.  Trevor was, needless to say, very special to me.   His being gone in an instant at such an early age, just after getting his first job that he was so proud of caused for much reflecting, and long nights with a glass of whiskey and water as I sat by myself in the weeks after his funeral trying to make sense of it all. I was not questioning the existence of God, as I have always had faith that there are reasons for everything.  The tragedy was such that it required me to ask for some answers as to why.  I started to look at the fragility of life in ways I had not done before.  My best friend, Todd, had committed suicide following high school and his act was based on the action and decisions he took.  I also knew the back story to his inner turmoil and I could somehow logically process it.  Even though Todd’s death was horribly sad, I could place that event into some context.  Trevor’s passing left me no way to come to a reasonable explanation.

Every year at this time we go over old pictures and reminisce about the moments that made for smiles and laughter.  Often on this date I will make note of Trevor on my blog.  Some folks should never be forgotten, and Trevor is definitely one of them.

One of those great memories about Trevor and his brother Troy comes from the ads featuring Mr. Whipple selling Charmin Toilet Paper on television.  I was the uncle who knew how to make my nephews laugh, and inspire them with antics that some adults did not always appreciate.  But the kids loved them, and that is after all one of the joys of  being young.

Suffice it to say without going into details that the satirical moments when I played Mr. Whipple brought lots of laughter from the boys.  I knew it was a winner when they requested the comedy to be repeated.  With that I offer in memory of Trevor the ad man Mr. Whipple.  Somewhere I know there is a giggle from the one who asked me to use his name on the radio for my on-air personality.  I did that for four years.   From my book comes the following passage.

My nephew, Trevor, was a remarkable boy.  He had a pleasant personality, and a most winning smile.  He was always so pleased when someone had a little more faith in him than he had in himself.  I tried always to extend that extra assurance to him.  Trevor had a certain look in his big blue eyes when he wanted to join in some game or participate in another group’s activity.  That was perhaps the softest that I have ever experienced.  It was, to say the least, irresistible.  I couldn’t help but encourage Trevor who knew that I intended to study at a broadcasting school.  We joked about my being on the air, and he suggested that it would be fun to hear his own name on the radio someday.  We laughed about it in silly ways over the months before I left home.  When it came time to select my on-air name, no doubt remained as to how it would start–Trevor.  The ‘James’ part came from my liking Sonny James, a country singer I continue to enjoy.  ‘Trevor James’, then, was created, and my nephew was so pleased.

Yes, there are lots of great memories that flood back today.

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