Local businessman dies, leaves a legacy with area youngsters
WORTHINGTON -- Marvell "Marv" Tripp was a lifelong local businessman and former county commissioner, but his biggest legacy is likely the countless young people with whom he shared his knowledge of firearms and love of the outdoors.
Tripp, 78, died suddenly Monday at his Worthington home. Although he'd endured some major health issues more than five years ago, recently his health had been good, according to son Tim Tripp.
"He just went to bed and didn't wake up," Tim shared Tuesday about his father's death.
Born and raised in Worthington, Tripp lived all his life here, except for time in the armed services. He spent four years on active duty in the Air Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years in the reserves.
"He was a navigator when he was on active duty and flew all over the world," Tim said.
Tripp entered the family insurance business founded by his father, Marvell Tripp Sr.
In 1983, Tripp was elected to serve on the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, and he continued in that capacity until 1992.
"When I came on, he was already a commissioner," recalled Claire Gerber of Worthington, who represented the other city ward on the board. "Attendance -- he was always there, never missed a meeting, and he was particularly interested in the watershed and conservation."
In conjunction with those interests, Tripp had also served on the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed Board and on the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.
Ken Roberts was the Nobles County Auditor and worked with the commissioners during Tripp's tenure as a Nobles County commissioner.
"But I'd known him all my life," Roberts reflected. "We go back a long way, back to Boy Scouts. ... He was in one troop, and I was in another. He thought his (troop) was best, and I thought mine was best. We always joked about that."
The two men also collaborated on gun safety instruction for more than 30 years. In 2008, Tripp was honored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for 50 years as a firearms safety instructor.
"He worked very hard on that," Roberts said. "He was just a very avid hunter and really enjoyed doing that. He was really out there looking for geese and ducks and pheasants and stuff, and he was good at it, too. A duck would fly over, and he'd look up and tell you what kind it was, and I could hardly see the thing."
That interest in guns, hunting and conservation was something that Tripp took great pleasure in passing along to his family.
"This past spring, he was still out on the range with us for gun safety," said Tim, who has also taught in the program for 20 years. "He started all three of us boys out hunting at the age of 7. ... His love of the outdoors, all his life, was very important to him, and it was important for him to pass the hunting legacy on to his grandkids. They hunted with him every fall."
The funeral service for Tripp will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Worthington. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Benson Funeral Home, Worthington.