Even within their outgoing family, Joe and Anna Trustey — father and daughter — had a gravitational force that drew others to them, whether they were alone or together.
He had a nickname for everyone he knew, she brought a touch of the theatrical to common gestures. Both enlivened conversations with wit that was swift and sure, and both could dip into the fanciful at a moment’s notice. Mr. Trustey might pretend to speak a foreign language with made-up words; his daughter could casually conduct a fake phone call, conjuring and spoofing an imaginary celebrity on the other end.
“You would think you got a line in that would be funny and the end of the conversation, and he would immediately shoot something back,” Kris Trustey said of her husband. Their daughter, she added, “loved to sing and dance. She would belt out songs, thinking the louder she sang, the better she would sound, and she continued doing that right up to the day she died, actually.”
Joseph Francis Trustey and Anna Kathleen Trustey, both of Wenham, died Wednesday evening when the plane he was piloting crashed as it approached Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport in Milwaukee. He was 53, she 18, and they were on a tour visiting potential colleges for her to attend.
As managing director and chief operating officer of Summit Partners, Mr. Trustey helped the private equity firm play a significant role in the investment community with its more than $6.5 billion in assets. He also served on the boards of some Summit portfolio companies.
Just as important to him were his roles outside the corporate world, including serving on the board of Shore Country Day School in Beverly, where his wife said he had just completed his third year as president. In June, he presented their youngest daughter, Claire, with a diploma at her graduation.
Anna Trustey, who had graduated from Shore Country Day, would have been a senior this fall at the Brooks School in North Andover. She would have served as a captain of the independent school’s soccer and lacrosse teams, and had just been chosen by students and faculty to be a senior prefect, a top student leadership honor.
For father and daughter, achievements at work and school were only a partial measure of what each wanted to contribute. Andrew Joseph Trustey, who was known as A.J., was the only son among the Trustey children. He had epilepsy and died in his sleep on Oct. 13 at age 22, his mother said. Miss Trustey had prepared a school project, with Livestrong as a model, using wristbands to raise awareness about epilepsy during her senior year.
Mr. Trustey, an Army veteran who got his pilot’s license in 2006, volunteered his time, plane, and fuel through the Veterans Airlift Command, which offers transportation to wounded veterans. Just a couple weeks ago, his wife said, he flew a veteran who had lost both legs from Maryland to New York State.
Often, though, he was “a quiet philanthropist,” his wife said. Hearing that an intern at Summit Partners couldn’t afford college, he arranged on her last day to fund her education, working through an intermediary. At the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater and which oldest daughter Caroline now attends, Mr. Trustey heard some students couldn’t afford to visit family for the Christmas holidays. He paid their fares anonymously through the school, his wife recalled, adding: “He said, ‘I don’t want anybody to not be able to go home.’ ”
Lou Nanni, a longtime friend and Notre Dame classmate of Mr. Trustey, and now the school’s vice president of university relations, recalled that he said of the funds he offered: “I don’t need thank-you letters, I don’t need updates. Just make sure to use it on these kids.”
Mr. Trustey also rode in the Pan-Mass Challenge cancer fund-raiser, joined by Caroline. “My dad was the hardest-working person I know, and always would put other people before him,” she said.
He visited her at school, often in the fall, she said, traveling to Indiana for Notre Dame home football games. “All my friends loved him,” Caroline said. “I don’t know anyone who he doesn’t have a nickname for, and he was so engaged. He knew so many people, but was so engaged with who he was talking to at that moment.”
Caroline is just a couple years older than Anna. “She was my best friend,” Caroline said. The two attended Brooks School together for a year, as a senior and freshman, and shared everything, including clothes. “Just the other day, I went into her room and said, ‘Maybe I’ll wear one of Anna’s shirts today,’ and I opened up one of the drawers and half the clothes were mine,” Caroline said. “I’d expect nothing less.”
Joseph Trustey was born in Pawtucket, R.I., and his family moved soon after to Glastonbury, Conn. His father, Joseph, was an engineer at the Pratt & Whitney aerospace company. His mother, the former Carol Bodell, stayed home to raise the three children, of whom Mr. Trustey was the oldest.
He graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Notre Dame, where “we used to have a variety show about once a semester, and Joe would always organize very clever skits,” said his friend and former classmate, the Rev. Paul Kollman, director of the Center for Social Concerns at the Catholic university. “He was a talented, unbelievably magnetic kind of guy. And those skills I saw in college flourished in his adult life.”
While at Notre Dame, he met Kristine Anderson, who attended St. Mary’s College, a women’s school across the street. She was a freshman and he was a senior, and they married on April 25, 1987.
After college, Mr. Trustey spent four years in the Army as an engineer, mostly at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, rising to the rank of captain. Then he went to Harvard Business School as a Baker scholar, and received a master’s in business administration. He and his wife lived in Beverly for seven years before settling in Wenham in 1997.
Anna was born the day they had been married 10 years. “Best anniversary present ever,” her mother said.
“She was gorgeous, she was vivacious, she was a good athlete, but she was always approachable,” Kris said. “Nobody was ever excluded. She was that person everyone felt comfortable going up to, and she just lit up a room.”
In addition to Kris, Caroline, and Claire, Mr. Trustey and Miss Trustey leave Mr. Trustey’s father, Joseph of Glastonbury, Conn., and Mr. Trustey’s two sisters, Anne Marie Guggenberger of North Andover and Jeannie Sullivan of Andover.
The family will hold visiting hours for Joseph and Anna Trustey on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Shore Country Day School in Beverly, with a prayer service at 8 p.m. Though the family attends the Church of St. Paul of Hamilton and Wenham, a funeral Mass will be said Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel at Gordon College in Wenham, which has more seating.
The Trustey family traveled together to countries such as China, Iceland, Kenya, and Turkey — places the children might not choose visit on their own, Kris said. On the trips, she recalled, her husband might break into his version of the local language, making up words as he went along, insisting that others answer back in their own imagined dialect.
“He was incredibly smart, incredibly witty,” she said. “He made me laugh, and through all of our 28 years of marriage and 4½ years of dating, that was true.”
Globe correspondent Jacqueline Tempera and Beth Healy of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Bryan Marquard can be reached at bryan.marquard@ globe.com.