Merlin Trentman will retire from Chief Supermarket on Sept. 12 after 20 years of service. Store manager Bobbie Thompson congratulates Trentman. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
Merlin Trentman will retire from Chief Supermarket on Sept. 12 after 20 years of service. Store manager Bobbie Thompson congratulates Trentman. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
DELPHOS — Like many people, Merlin Trentman, 87, found he still needed to work after he retired from Fruehauf.

"My first wife had heart trouble and needed open heart surgery and we needed the supplemental insurance to help out,” Trentman said. “So, I started working at the IGA across from the swimming pool and stayed on when it changed to Dave’s. I was there for about 3 years.”

A co-worker at IGA who had gone on to work at Chief’s told Trentman he should try for a job there.

“I talked to Jerome here and he said they were hiring and asked if I could start that weekend,” Trentman recalled. “I needed to give Dave’s two weeks notice so I worked three days at Dave’s and three days at Chief’s for two weeks. I’ve been at Chief’s every since.”

Chief Supermarket Manager Bobbie Thompson said everyone notices when Trentman isn’t there.

“The older people really miss him because he is so helpful,” she said. “The employees miss him because he’s our handyman and keeps everything moving smoothly and does a great job cleaning the bathrooms and other areas. We all know when Merlin isn’t around.”

The Army veteran takes is all in stride.

“I enjoy cleaning. I had to clean at home because of my wife’s health and I just got into a routine and would clean at home and here,” he said. “Customers always praise me for keeping the store so clean.”

Trentman’s wife passed away a year and a half after her surgery. He met his second wife through one of his grandsons who was baling straw for someone.

“He needed me to come and rake over the straw so he could bale it for her and that’s when I met Dorothy Grone,” he said.

Trentman’s last day at Chief Supermarket is Sept. 12. Before then, he will need to use his paid day off he won in a recent employee appreciation drawing.

“We have to force Merlin to take days off so I hope he uses that free day. He deserves it,” Thompson said.

In his retirement, Trentman hopes to travel for fun and to see family. A trip to Italy and Jerusalem is planned for early next year.

“My wife also has a brother in Texas we’d like to go see and I have a sister in Florida,” he said.”We are both in really good heath and hope the Lord allows us to enjoy it a long time.”

Merlin is a lifelong farmer and he continues to help run a grain and cattle operation with his two sons, Leo and Bob. He also has three other children, Diane, David and Mary; and numerous grandchildren.