Revisiting His Story: "Doc" Tribbett Comes to Boyertown


Dr. Tribbett's high school yearbook photo.

During the summer of 2023 The Boyertown Area Expression invited readers to submit recollections of a memorable summer in their lives. On August 23, we published the story "Doc" Tribbett shared with us about his introduction to Boyertown. It seems fitting to reshare what he wrote, as he leaves us.

Dr. Tribbett Comes To Town

by Dr. James Tribbett

On a beautiful summer day while I was studying some optometry lesson, I asked my wife if she would like to take another ride to find our home. I had been to Virginia, Delaware, California and New Jersey as prospective locations.

The map showed me Route 73, not as famous as Rt. 66, but it was a line going away from Philadelphia where I DID NOT WANT TO BE. We hit several towns up to Fleetwood, but leaving Boyertown, I noticed newer homes on each side of Rt 73 and turned to view them. 

Hmm, someone liked this town and wanted to stay. I then reversed the VW bug and traveled all of the streets of Boyertown. There were industries, businesses, and professional offices; anything you want or need is available. I like this town.

Further north we came to a country hotel/restaurant, Moselem Springs. We stopped there for lunch with our 4 year old daughter. We sat in a very nice venue, looked at the menu, and I folded it and said we must leave. “Why?” asked my wife. I said that I did not have enough money for one hamburger; we left. 

I subscribed to the Boyertown Times since I was developing an interest here. I read about an auction on Franklin Street during a cold month, so we attended. A very nice crowd was there and many faces seemed to be looking at us! Wonder why? Strangers or just strange?

We located here June 19, 1969 because I wanted to start my own optometric office rather than attach to an existing office. 

Dr. Tribbett became a well-known member of the greater Boyertown community.

Small town, nice people, everything available (the Grill Shop and Saville’s). We found a home for sale on a main thoroughfare, 522 E. Philadelphia Avenue, with a yard, fruit trees, and area for a garden. Mr. DeTurck, president of the Bank of Boyertown, assisted in making us the owner.

I refurbished/remade the downstairs into my office; we lived upstairs. The old guy across the street watched me, became an early patient, and asked me for $2.00. When he returned for his new eyeglasses, he handed me a membership card to Hookies! Now I had arrived! 

Boyertown has been a great choice! I loved the type of people who came to me for optometric care. The locals were just my style: farmers, plant workers, business people, and many knew each other, which helped my practice to grow via recommendations. I joined the Lions Club due to their interest in vision and that was a big plus. It seemed like everyone I met was just a darned nice person.

After 51 years of practice, I was fortunate to find someone who would continue serving our public, Dr. Cara Reitnauer. She retained me to work parttime for two more years.

I am a lucky guy. 

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