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A Life Remembered

Longtime county fair director, community pillar Bob Trinchero dies at age 80

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Fair CEO Laurie Giannini and Bob Trinchero pose for a photo at the Calaveras County Fair.

There is far too much to say when a full life comes to an end. To encapsulate the testimonies of a community so profoundly touched by one man is a monumental challenge, particularly when that man has lived the life of Bob Trinchero.

A husband, father, great-grandfather, scholar, public servant, enterpriser, friend and teacher, Trinchero succumbed to a long battle with cancer on Jan. 5 at the age of 80. Yet the impact he made on his chosen community of Angels Camp will endure, from the beloved golf course development of Greenhorn Creek to the county fair, to the lessons of commitment and compassion he imparted on his neighbors.

“There are few words that can do justice to describe a man so full of wit, charm, intelligence and love of life as Bob,” his life tribute reads. “He felt the love of family and good friends, often writing reflective notes about his perceptions and thoughts. He was a cheerleader for life, and his was a life well-lived.”

Born in San Jose, Trinchero moved to Angels Camp in 1995 after retiring from a career in academia. A former psychology professor at California State University, East Bay and university administrator with a Ph.D. from Stanford University, it would seem that Trinchero would be a fish out of water in such an agrarian community. But he had come from a family of Italian immigrant farmers and was proud of his heritage, his wife of 30 years, Pat, said.

A true sports enthusiast, Trinchero also had a love of golf that drew him to courses throughout the world and, eventually, the foothills city of Angels Camp. It was here that he nurtured the beginning of a new golf community, Greenhorn Creek, and continued an active role in its management until retiring for a second time in 2002.

“There would be no Greenhorn Creek community if not for Bob Trinchero,” said Jim Watson, who had a 30-year friendship with Trinchero. “He loved putting people together to live their dreams. He introduced me to Barden Stevenot, and the result was a partnership to develop Greenhorn Creek. Bob was the spiritual leader in building the very community that he lived in for the last 25 years.”

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Bob Trinchero speaks at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Trinchero died on Jan. 5.

Once again, retirement offered no rest for Trinchero, who instead dove deeper into a life of public service. He was appointed in 1999 to the Board of Directors for the 39th District Agricultural Association (DAA), which governs the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. Trinchero would continue to serve under four governors over the course of 22 years, holding the position until his death.

During his tenure, he wore many hats in planning the county’s most famous annual event, including president of the 39th DAA, junior livestock committee member and fundraising organizer.

“In 2008, he was instrumental (in) forming the ‘Friends of the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee,’ a not-for-profit organization to work hand in hand with the Board of Directors. In 2011, Director Trinchero led the board in a reorganization that resulted in a financial and community revitalization,” Laurie Giannini, Calaveras County Fair CEO, wrote in a public statement.

According to Giannini, Trinchero will be perhaps best remembered for his dedication to the community’s youth. He was involved in the fair’s Outstanding Livestock Exhibitor scholarship program since its inception, serving as a judge each year.

“This was not an easy task,” Giannini said. “Bob loved interacting with the exhibitors, offering positive feedback and giving the exhibitors goals to work toward. In 2020, he interviewed the candidates via Zoom. It was the first time I sat in on the interviews, and (I) was amazed how Bob knew the students, had read and studied their resumes, essays and record books. He was completely engaged. Bob was like that, forever present in the moment.”

Current 39th DAA President Gay Callan described Trinchero as an unfaltering “positive force.”

“His vision and participation in multiple projects were always with positive determination and without his direction, most would not have been completed. Our board flourished because of his leadership, experience and knowledge,” Callan stated. “He will be dearly missed, not only as a director and past president on the fair board, but as a confidant, dear friend and mentor.”

Trinchero’s reach within the community extended beyond the fair. He was active in Destination Angels Camp and the Calaveras Visitors Center, as well as planning events such as the Mark Twain Festival in 2010.

Calaveras Enterprise Owner and Publisher Ralph Alldredge remembers Trinchero as a steadfast friend, supporter and “connector” between people, who encouraged kindness by example.

“Personable, considerate, humble and empathetic are not terms normally associated with a man of action who always found a way to get important things done for the community. But that is Bob’s legacy. He set a personal example of decency and determination that inspired others to give their best as well in those endeavors,” Alldredge said. “One of greatest examples you could imagine of a person with goodwill to everyone. Absolutely everyone.”

Trinchero’s life will be celebrated at his beloved Calaveras County Fairgrounds, deferred until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. His family requests that those wanting to make a contribution in his memory donate to the Outstanding Livestock Exhibitor scholarship via P.O. Box 489, Angels Camp, CA 95222.

Readers are invited to commemorate Trinchero in the comments section of his life tribute or this story. 

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Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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