Leanin’ Tree founder Edward P. Trumble dies at age 94

Ed Trumble, longtime owner and Chairman of Leanin’ Tree, Inc. and founder of the Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden, died in Longmont, Colorado on Wednesday, December 26th.

A resident of Boulder, he was 94.

Edward Patrick “Ed” Trumble, born Nov. 1, 1924, in Havelock, Nebraska made his mark on Boulder County and far beyond, both as a highly successful entrepreneur and also as a curator and aficionado of western art.

Trumble started his business, originally called Lazy RL Ranch, with artist and partner Robert Lorenz in 1949. Their four Christmas cards sold out immediately.

The company was renamed after Lorenz died in 1965, at which point Trumble bought out his late partner’s share of the business. He opted for the logo of a spruce tree, symbolic of the Christmas season, which he saw as a card maker’s busiest time. He chose to make the tree lean in honor of his home state, Nebraska, he said, because “the wind blew all the time.”

For Trumble, Leanin’ Tree was actually his second brush with the greeting card industry. Following his graduation from the University of Nebraska, he was offered and accepted a position at Hallmark in Kansas City. However, after a visit to Denver and the surrounding Rocky Mountains, he declined that opportunity even before he started.

After operating briefly in Fort Collins, Leanin’ Tree bought its Boulder facility in 1974, and all of its cards are still manufactured there today. The company works with about 700 independent artists to annually produce more than 6,000 cards and gift products.  Today, the company is managed by the 2nd generation of Trumble family members, although Ed enjoyed visiting the office several afternoons a week to visit with family and long-term employees.

The Greeting Card Association presented Trumble with its Lifetime Achievement Award in May 2016, recognizing his unique contributions to the industry and the artists it supports.

Trumble found that the many years of finding art for his western-themed greeting cards connected him to many of the finest western art galleries, and he would become a big supporter and friend of many artists and gallery owners.  He acquired and curated fine art for his Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden for more than 40 years.

His family considers his greatest publishing achievement to be his 500-page coffee- table book, “The Story of Leanin’ Tree: Art and Enterprise in the American West,” published in 2008.

A funeral Mass is set for 10 a.m. January 5, 2019 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Longmont, where Trumble was a faithful member.   In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Ed Trumble Alumni Scholarship Fund, the University of Nebraska or the Long’s Peak Council of Boy Scouts of America. Memorial gifts to the University of Nebraska should be designated to the Ed Trumble Fund for Entrepreneurship, and mailed to the University of Nebraska Foundation, 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln, NE, 68508.