“Doc” James Tribbett: Boyertown Community Loses Another Valued Leader


Boyertown's Historic State Theatre pays tribute to "Doc" Tribbett.

by Jane Stahl

Surprised and saddened to learn of “Doc” Tribbett’s passing, I realize, yet again, the great loss of another outstanding member that the Boyertown community has sustained. I envision a few of them—wherever their spirits are hanging out--shaking hands, hugging one another in greeting, and then spending hours recalling the many contributions each made to their beloved community as we certainly have done since they left us. And then, I imagine, they will, with a sigh perhaps, rest in the peace of knowing they “left it all on the field.” They more than did their parts.

My own memories of “Doc” go way back. He and my mother, a school nurse for the Boyertown Area School District, worked a bit together at certain times of the year when he offered his services to provide eye exams for the students in the schools where my mother was assigned. Mother often remarked what an exceptionally kind and caring gentlemen he was.

And so, meeting him decades later, I soon understood her admiration. Exceptionally warm and generous, he was an early and loyal supporter of the assorted projects in which I was involved—including, of course, Studio B Art Gallery. I was always happy to see him at our art openings or random afternoons when he came into the gallery to check out the latest exhibit. He often attended Bob Wood’s history talks, and I was pleased when he asked if the studio might help his daughter promote her newly-published children’s book, “Chicken Girl.”

In addition, years ago, he took on the fabrication of the tabletop plaster Bear Fever bears when sculptor Martha Cawley “retired” from her efforts creating them. He frequently donated these “Bearitas” to folks and organizations in order to express his gratitude for their community efforts. He was always pleased when his successor continued the tradition he’d begun.  

I’d heard about his donations and efforts to support Ukraine over many years —including the trips he took to provide supplies and eye care— that showcased that uncommon kindness and caring my mother had recognized. Many others will surely share in greater detail his involvement in those efforts and his dedicated service as a member of the Lions Club. I'll always remember him in the club's signature vest. 

More recently, he was one of the earliest supporters of The Boyertown Area Expression. He frequently emailed us to applaud our efforts and even contributed pieces of his own writing in response to our challenges! He kept us abreast about Ukraine by sharing correspondence and photographs he received. 

But I especially remember the piece he wrote for one Valentine’s Day in which he shared what he loved about Kitty, including that she dressed nicely! His tribute reminded me of what he'd remarked to me when they first became a couple. He told me then that she was so positive, ever happy and grateful, and that he was always happy to wake up to her smile. At the time, I remember thinking, “Mom was right!” 

The Boyertown Area Expression sends its sincerest sympathies to “Doc” Tribbett’s family and friends. He will be missed…and remembered…by many. 

Click this link to read about "Doc" Tribbett's arrival in Boyertown, a story told in his own words.

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