Alfred Columbus Trombly was born on 13 March 1872 in Detroit, Wayne, MI, eldest child of January and Elisabeth
(Baumgartner) Trombly. Alfred's gr-gr-gr-grandfather, Pierre Tremblay, had settled Fox Creek/Grosse Pointe in 1750.
Years later, in 1985, Alfred's eldest child, Sadie, would die on his birthday.
He married Rose Susanne Rivard, daughter of Leander and Mary Ann (Fournier) Rivard, on 25 April 1894
in Greiner (Detroit), Wayne, MI. Father Fridolin J. Baumgartner officiated with Joseph & Anna Rivard of
Grosse Pointe as witnesses.
He and Rose were among the original members of St. David's Catholic Church in Detroit.
Alfred was a nephew of Mary Trombly, widow of David, who had donated some financing and the land on
which St. David's was built in 1921. A street in the neighborhood was named after David's daughter,
Rosemary. Alfred took up the first collection for Father William Murphy, pastor of St. David's
from 1921 until 1938 when he was appointed Bishop of Saginaw. Alfred was interviewed for the upcoming
1982 publication of a history of St. David's parish. A photo of him at about age 88 is in the
"Our Benefactors" section of the book.
Between 1894 and 1906 Alfred was a brick manufacturer
in Detroit, having taken over the business his grandfather established. After closing the brick company in Detroit,
he was in the real estate and insurance business. He had an office on Gratiot Ave. In 1923 he also opened
a brick yard in Warren. Alfred was President of the Roseville State Bank,
established in 1923, at Gratiot and Utica during the 1920's. (While rebuilding a
chimney in April 2017, gr-grandson Kevin Duffey - a skilled mason - discovered a brick with the Trombly name
etched on it in a home build in 1935.)
He served around the turn of the century as treasurer and supervisor
of Grosse Pointe Twp. In 1910 Alfred was a U.S. census enumerator for Gratiot Twp., in
Wayne County (district 285).
Alfred and his wife enjoyed traveling the world. Their eldest daughter, Sadie, cared for
the other children while they were away. Grape vines brought back from Italy became part of Alfred's huge
garden, which also included strawberries, musk melons, potatoes, carrots, onions, corn, squash and tomatoes.
Grand-daughter Gloria remembered his talent for growing things, helping with the hard work of hoeing and chopping
up corn stalks in the fall.
Rosemarie Schulte, Alfred and Rose's granddaughter, would often stop by their home after school,
to visit and play an enjoyable game of cards. Mariana remembered going to visit Great-grandpa Trombly,
who seemed to her a quiet gentle natured man. His house had a wrap around front porch, with several bedrooms
and a huge playroom upstairs. There was a very small bedroom tucked under the stairway next to the dining room.
Enticing stacks of books and newspapers lay about the front room.
He was a tall slender man, who later in life had snowy white hair. Alfred enjoyed good health in his old age
and going out for a drive in his car until his cataracts worsened. A kind and generous man, he would not hear
of foreclosing on tenants that could not pay their rent during the Great Depression. All of Alfred's
huge extended family gathered at a rented hall to celebrate his birthday when he was in his mid 80's.
He died on 15 August 1961 in Detroit at age 89. He was buried on 18 August 1961 in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.
A.H. Peters Funeral Home handled the arrangements.