Philip Phil Hartley Trenary
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Philip 'Phil' Hartley Trenary

Memphis, TN

Philip 'Phil' Hartley Trenary, whose life took him from a small Oklahoma town to a pinnacle of aviation entrepreneurship and ultimately to become president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, died Thursday, September 27, 2018 at Regional One Health in Memphis. He was 64 years young. Born in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, on August 1, 1954, to May Ruth and Buck Trenary, he was a proud Oklahoma State University Cowboy, graduating with a bachelor of applied science degree in aeronautical engineer technology in 1979 and with an abiding love for aviation. At OSU, he was instrumental in the founding of the Flying Aggies, the first collegiate aerobatics program and the top team of its kind in the country for four consecutive years. Five years later, he founded Exec Express Airlines in Stillwater, Oklahoma, before moving it to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1987, where it continued its domestic and international flights under the name, Lone Star Airlines. He moved to Memphis in 1997 and began a love affair with a city that embraced him as he became president and CEO of Pinnacle Airlines Corp., growing it from a small regional air carrier with $75 million in revenues to one of the largest regional airlines in the United States with more than $1.2 billion in annual revenues and 7,700 employees. After leaving the company in 2011, he remained in his adopted city as principal of Phil Trenary & Associates, where he specialized in airline consulting and large institutional restructuring. In addition, he advised clients that included Emerge Memphis, Shelby Farms Park, and University of Memphis. In June 2014, he was named president & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, where he was known for his collaborative approach and his boundless advocacy for Memphis. He led the Chamber to adopt the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and attracting better jobs to our community; he guided the launch of the Greater Memphis Chamber's Chairman's Circle, a group of more than 100 business leaders committed to transformative change; he worked to bring and retain workers in downtown Memphis, notably with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and ServiceMaster; he actively represented Memphis' interests in the Tennessee and U.S. capitals; and he especially liked working and mentoring millennials to take their place as leaders for Memphis. He lived his life with a smile on his face and acted every day on his guiding principles: "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone for nothing in return" and "Do what you love." That love manifested itself in a buoyant and deep relationship with Memphis, which he loved for its people, its music, its tenacity, and most of all, as a city where everyone is given an opportunity to make a difference. For him, it was more than just his Chamber job; it was in fact his calling. Said Barbara and Pitt Hyde: "Phil was our go-to person as a friend and as a partner working for an equitable and thriving Memphis. He personified love for his friends, love for his family, and love for his city, and translated that love into action." He displayed that same spirit, optimism, empathy, and core values with his family, which carries his memories in their hearts as inspiration for the days ahead. He is survived by his former wife, Bridget Trenary of Memphis; his sons, Justin Rogers of Houston and Pearce Trenary of Dallas; his daughter, Brittney (Schaefer) Rowe of Memphis; his grandchildren, Lawson Rowe, and Jackson Myers, Justin Rogers' son; his brother, Frank (Connie) Trenary of Edmond, Oklahoma, and his sister-in-law, Linda Trenary, widow of his brother, Lloyd Trenary. Phil's parents predeceased him. He was involved in numerous Memphis charitable and civic organizations and served on the boards of New Memphis Institute, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, Memphis Tomorrow, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, and St. George's Independent School. He served as past chairman of the Regional Airline Association and was a member of the Management Advisory Council for the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator. He was a member of Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis and also regularly attended Greater White Stone Missionary Baptist Church in South Memphis. His family greatly appreciates the outpouring of love and sympathy from Phil's many friends during these difficult days, and together, we best honor his memory by keeping his optimism for Memphis burning bright.

Visitation will begin at noon followed by service at 2 p.m., Thursday, October 4, 2018, at Christ United Methodist Church, Seabrook Hall, 4488 Poplar Avenue, Memphis. In lieu of flowers, his family requests contributions to the Phil Trenary Fund for the Advancement of Memphis at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis.


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Published in The Commercial Appeal on Sep. 30, 2018.
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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October 12, 2019
Phil was a wonderful person and highly respected. I knew him and his family in Oklahoma.
Reta Ketchum
Friend
September 24, 2019
You marked a place in my life and my heart with your kindness, your consideration. You were always willing to help others. Thank you for being a kind hearted person. Forever in my heart. Still missing that contagious smile. Forever our friend #PINNACLEAIRLINES
Mary Smith
Coworker
October 5, 2018
Rest In Heaven you have your Wings
My condolences to the family of Mr Phil Trenary, President and CEO of Greater Memphis Chamber. Not only was he a promient leader in our community. He was very instrumental in the business startup community. Thanks for all your advice, wisdom, books network and opportunities I was afforded and recieved. My most memorable will be when you called and said " Vontyna come down to chamber, I got somebody I want you to meet and work with. Unbeknown to me, it was the Great Memphis Legend Mr David Porter himself. I didnt know whether to laugh or cry cause it was awesome experience. Not to mention many other great people I have met. You will be truly missed. A Memphis Business ICON and great advisor.
Vontyna Durham
October 4, 2018
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October 4, 2018
I knew Philip at Shidler (OK) High School for about two and one half years before he moved to Chandler. 1968 to 1971. He was a good friend. He was known as "Trenary" back then. He used to place a flying magazine inside his history book and read about planes during class. He once showed me a picture of a Lear Jet and said that he would one day fly one and maybe even own one someday. All of us guys dreamed about owning the fastest and coolest looking vehicle. I think Philip won that competition. Philip learned his management skills at SHS as the manager of both the football and basketball teams. His folks ran a chicken farm at the south end of town. I think the coup is still there.
He always wanted to fly (maybe it was from the chickens).
He always had time to talk (usually about planes). He was fun.
Philip was so classy that he even returned to Shidler for our 10 year reunion even though he did not graduate with us. I remember him telling me that he had become a corporate pilot for City Services Gas and Oil from Tulsa and he flew their execs wherever they needed to go.
He said he was planning to open his own airline and fly any execs anywhere. This was the last time I talked with him. I had heard about his Exec Express and also his Lone Star Airlines. I did not know about his Pinnacle adventure or his move to Memphis. I am proud that I was a friend of the kid that always had his head in the clouds and he really did have his head there. I want to finish with this thought.
Philip, you flew the coup (chicken) from Shidler to soar with the eagles and from now on every time I hear a bell ring and an Angel gets his or her wings, I will picture them standing in front of the "Ternary Flying School" waiting for your instructions on how these new wings work.
You will be missed forever and never forgotten.

Marvin McConaghy
Beloit, KS
(He will always be a member of the
Shidler High School "Class of '72).
Marvin McConaghy
October 4, 2018
A true Memphis Business Icon, leader and great advisor to business startup community you will be truly missed.
Vontyna Durham
October 4, 2018
One of the best Best " Boss's " I have every had ... Mr. Trenary took care of us as employees. We all knew when he left the airlines things would never be the same and they were not. My heart is broken. I pray from his close family and friends... He will be missed. Thank you Phil Trenary..." Job well done"
Wilma Tyler
October 4, 2018
I served the Memphis Chamber and Community for 7 years, leaving Memphis and the Chamber in September 2014. I knew of Phil for many years, we met once or twice, but when he joined and served the Chamber I was blessed to see his bright light and knew he would do great things for our community. I no longer live in Memphis but Memphis will always be home. It's servants like Phil that helps me say with pride that I'm from Memphis when I'm asked about my accent here in Indiana. Thank you Phil for your commitment and thank you to his family for sharing him with the rest of Memphis and beyond. May our Lord bring you peace and wisdom beyond understanding during the days ahead. To my Chamber family, my sincere prayers are with you.
Leigh Anne Downes
October 3, 2018
Phil was my college advisor as well as my Flight Instructor for my Commercial and my CFI. I would not have graduated from college if not for him. RIP my friend.
"Flying Aggie" Class of 1981
Captain Robert Donalson
United Airlines
Robert Donalson
October 3, 2018
Thank you for being a great leader in the aviation community. I had the privilege of working for Pinnacle as Station Manager in Tallahassee, Florida. I thank you on behalf of the entire airline family. You will be greatly missed. Condolences to your entire family!
Sandy Muffatti
October 3, 2018
Thank you and rest in peace for your generous benevolent spirit leading success in Memphis.
Cynthia Waites
October 2, 2018
Phil fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith. Now there is in store for him the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to him on that dayand not only to him, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Matthew 25:21 New International Version (NIV)
21His master replied, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Kavicky
October 2, 2018
Zoe, "RB", and Phil . At the seaport again another year . another
Marilyn Kotnik
October 2, 2018
Super fun times at the Seaport .
Marilyn Kotnik
October 2, 2018
Marilyn Kotnik
October 2, 2018
My deep and sincere condolences to the family & friends of Mr. Trenary. Our community is better because of the life he lived & shared. May heaven smile upon his legacy of service to humankind
Debora Moss
October 2, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. May you be comforted knowing Our Heavenly Father truly cares for your family. 1Pet 5:6,7
October 1, 2018
Oshkosh 2017
Dear Trenary Family,
We are heart broken by this very sad news. Phil is loved so many besides his wonderful family. My late husband, Charlie Hillard & Phil were close friends & shared a deep love for their families, aviation, friends everywhere, local communities and the wide sweeping world that airplanes brought to them both. We have so enjoyed making many fond memories together at Oshkosh & hold Phil in the highest regard. Please know that we send many blessings and prayers to all of you.
Love from the Hillard, Kevari, Kotnik & Jurasin Families and your much larger Oshkosh family.
Doreen Hillard
Doreen Hillard
October 1, 2018
My condolences to the Trenary Family. May the God of comfort grant you strength during this difficult time.
October 1, 2018
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October 1, 2018
I taught Phil to fly.
We had a great time in his Taylorcraft.
Monte
October 1, 2018
My sincerest condolences to the Trenary family in this time of sadness. May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you. The Trenary family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Sydney Ray
October 1, 2018
My condolences and prayers go out to the entire Trenary family. Phil was an amazing leader and forward thinker for the Greater Memphis community. His mark on our community will forever shine as Memphis reaps the return from the many initiatives he started.
Reggie Crenshaw
October 1, 2018
I can't remember anything during my time as a lifelong Memphis that is a bigger loss for our city than losing this fine champion. I thank Phil for his leadership and his vision. What a nice, humble, and enjoyable gentleman!

As i grieve for his family and for his city and try to reconcile all of it and decide how to move forward, i think of Phil and what he would want all of us to do. And i think that is to press forward, harder than ever, at appreciating our city and helping it to reach its fullest potential.

Thank you Phil for all that you have done for so many.
Jason Fair
October 1, 2018
Holding the entire Trenary family in my heart and sending prayers your way. Phil and I met in Fort Worth and served on a number of non profit boards and committees together. He was a super star and will be missed
Craig Harbuck
October 1, 2018
Mr. Phil gave "ME"a fealing of being Emportant as I'd clean Parking lot ONE in GREEN BELT...He'd pass me on His Walk,and I don't know how He knew My Name would say, "HOWARD A GOOD Job you're Doing " making me A "BETTER" Person in returning HIS "PRECIOUS" Smile on to Another "PERSON" PHIL was A LOVING Man..GodBless His Family..sincerely, Howard
Howard Inzer
October 1, 2018
The Class of 1972 from Chandler, Oklahoma are mourning the loss of one of their members. Phil always had the biggest smile and was truly one of the nicest guys! Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
Toni Garrison
October 1, 2018
The Dankos and our entire staff/family of Kooky Canuck send our sincere condolences for the loss of of our great friend. We miss you Phil, our thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Lana Danko
October 1, 2018
Just learned the shocking news, today. I grew up with Phil and we were always friends. Our paths last crossed in an airport (where else) and we had a brief, but good time.
My condolences to his friends and family.
Scott Robertson
October 1, 2018
Everyone who has worked with Phil knows what a fine, educated, gentle, kind, delicate,humane person he was.

He is a big loss to a world in which men of his quality have become rare.

My thoughts are with his family and beloved ones.

I wish them strength and wisdom.

They just lost someone who's memory they can be proud of.

Lucas Aardenburg Former Vice President Marketing and Sales for the Americas of Safran Aircraft Engines
Lucas Aardenburg
September 30, 2018
Mr. Trenary,
Your smile was so genuine and generous. You were the CEO. You had an open door policy and you treated everyone with respect and dignity. You nurtured relationships with everyone you met. The news of how your life came to an end is such a tragic loss. You will be missed. Now, you are soaring to great heights. Heaven is missing an angel, and that angel is you. Rest In Peace. My condolences are with the family.

Felicia Bullard-Dorsey
Inflight Supervisor
Nesbit, MS
September 30, 2018
I am so humbled and saddened by this tragic loss. He will forever be remembered as a good and kind gentleman. My deepest sympathy, prayers and love to all the Trenary family. May God bless you.
Nelwyn and Kalen Hansen
September 30, 2018
I worked for Pinnacle Airlines under Mr Trenary leadership ! He was a nice gentleman whom I liked ! He was friendly when he came to Knoxville ! We were shocked and saddened of this news ! Our prayers and thoughts are with you ! The family !! ❤
DavidandPat Brown
September 30, 2018
It was an Honor to work for such a wonderful man. I am blessed for that opportunity. Mr. Trenary will be miss by many of us here at TYS. My deepest condolences and Prayers for the family. May Angels Be All Around You....
Donna Morgan
September 30, 2018
It has been many years since I saw my friend Phil in Fort Worth. He was always smiling, even when things were so difficult at Exec Express. He still found a way to have fun. He is the only person ever to convince me to eat calf fries! I have no doubt that when the angels came to carry him into Heaven on Thursday night, that he convinced them to give him his wings right away. I can see him doing a barrel roll right through the Pearly Gates!!
Peace and Love to his family! RIP Phil!
Cathey Fisher
September 30, 2018
I know you have a beautiful view ... Fly High, Phil
Farnita Freeman
September 30, 2018
When my son passed, Phil that's what he wanted his employees to call him.. Came to the ramp literally and asked me how could he be of service and offered his condolences. It didnt matter that he was the CEO of the company. That my dear is the true measurements of a man. I will never forget you Phil or your gracious gestures... Rest Phil,Rest..
Farnita Freeman
September 30, 2018
Professionally, Phil chaired Pinnacle and RAA through the tragedy and challenges in the aftermath of CO 3047. He carried these burdens with unparalleled kindness, grace and understanding. In every instance, in every interaction he embodied the principles of "doing the next right thing".

Personally he never had a bad thought or feeling about anyone. To the contrary, he genuinely cared for and respected all who with whom he crossed paths.

For his professional friends and colleagues, he is the founding face on the Mt. Rushmore of regional aviation. For the entire Memphis community, they will never have a more loyal, nonstop cheerleader. For all of us who knew and loved him, we will never forget him.

My deepest condolences to all. God bless
Roger Cohen
Roger Cohen
September 30, 2018
My condolences, Mr. Trenary was a great man. I still remember when he was CEO of Exec Express he came to our maintenance facility in Hot Springs, Ar. we were swamped with work, he rolled up his sleeves and helped me work on one of the Piper Navajos. That made an impression on me, not many CEOs willing to get their hands dirty.Avery Herring
Avery Herring
September 30, 2018
Ed Johnson
September 30, 2018
Some men lead by greed and ambition;
Great Men lead by passion, ethics, personal conviction, empowerment and Team pride.
Phil was the latter.
Marty Klauss
September 30, 2018
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kevin giddis
September 30, 2018
Many of the cherished memories of my days at Pinnacle Airlines were a result of my work with colleagues inspired by the leadership of Phil Trenary. He wasn't just the Boss. He was someone so much more. His office was always open to those he those he lea. Rest in Peace, Phil! You will be sorely missed. CA Bob Harris FA Kristen Harris
September 30, 2018
I met this marvelous gentleman for the first time the year he was the King of Carnival Memphis. I knew from that first encounter that he was a special gift to our community. His dynamic approach to helping to solve local issues will be sorely missed. He exuded good will, and was always gracious and welcoming in his interactions with those with whom he encountered in business as well as in his personal life. God bless Phil, and the love and support for his family will be boundless in the hard times to come.
Carolyn Mayo
September 30, 2018
My sincerest condolences to the Trenary family. A giant is Flying High with that contagious smile that spoke volume whenever you were in his presence.
So many lives were touched and enhanced in such a positive and special manner because of Phil Trenary; and now so many lives affected, so many hearts with a void because of this senseless and sad tragedy. We were a Pinnacle Family because you promoted and endorsed family. We respected and loved you because you not only talked the talk, you certainly walked the walk. You will forever hold a place in our hearts. "FLY HIGH MY FRIEND--FLY HIGH!
Former Memphis Inflight Manager!!!
Mary Smith
September 30, 2018
I got to know Phil personally when my brother the late Andre Weathers and I worked for Pinnacle. Phil Reed was a friend of my father Tuskegee Airman Lt Col Luke J Weathers. When Phil T got wind that we were his employees he made a personal visit to meet us on our assigned shifts and the relationship evolved to a very personal and deeply appreciated friendship. Later he would dedicate the 100th Regional Jet he purchased in honor of my father and I will be forever grateful. I remember when his brother was ill and I was working and he was flying to see him. We had a very intimate conversation about GOD, life, and destiny that forever changed my outlook. Phil was an extraordinary individual who was colorblind and rich in spirit. To the family I want you to know that he loved each of you immensely and I will be praying for you now and for days to come. Phil's spirit will live on in each of us because his love ❤ was contagious. Thank you for sharing him with so many of us and ultimately we thank GOD for HIS son. On behalf of the entire Weathers Family our prayers are with you.
Trina Weathers Boyce
September 29, 2018
Phil was one of the best leaders and human beings I worked for and knew. His heart, ethics, sense of humor and dedication to family defined him. Rest in peace, dear friend and know your vast influence inspired all you met to be better human beings.
Lorraine Grubbs
September 29, 2018
Thank you, Phil, for the many great memories. You were a wonderful boss, and you were loved by all of us crew members. God bless you for all you did for us and the city of Memphis. Blessings and prayers to the Trenary family.
Maria Wineland
September 29, 2018
My thoughts and prayers go to the Trenary family. We have known Phil since he was a teenager. Being a friend of his Oklahoma family, we have celebrated special occasions together. He was a very kind person and such a gentleman.He has such accomplishments and a strong leadership.
Reta Ketchum
September 29, 2018
Dear family, So greatly saddened by Phi's passing, he was a wonderful man and always so good to us. Much love to all of you during this time.Love,Mary Anne Reed
Mary Anne Reed
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