James A. Tribbett

James A. Tribbett

Boyertown, Pennsylvania has lost one of its most loyal and giving community members. Although his family and friends will mourn him greatly, they know he lived life to the fullest and took every possible opportunity to uplift those around him and to do good. Undeniably, he left this world a better place and will be missed dearly but remembered fondly. He loved Boyertown, and it is only fitting that his last days were spent there.

James A. Tribbett, known around town as “Doc”, passed away on March 29, 2024. He was born on February 20,1941 in Ridgely, Maryland to Allen and Bernice Tribbett. He grew up in New Castle, Delaware, graduating from William Penn High School in 1959. He attended the University of Delaware, married Janice Todd and the two became parents to three daughters: Angie, Bonnie and Dawn.

Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Optometry in 1969, Dr. Tribbett, his wife and young daughter Angie explored various towns to set up an optometry practice. They returned multiple times to Boyertown and purchased his first office on East Philadelphia Avenue. In his own written words, “Boyertown was a wise choice for both home and practice. I enjoyed serving the people and families of this area. The interlocking relationships among patients had always fascinated my historical mind and have brought many interesting patient visits.”

His practice was sold in 2013 to Dr. Cara Reitnauer, a perfect successor to the practice, and he continued to work for her for several more years. Doc Tribbett served the Boyertown area community for 53 years as an Optometrist. He truly took the time with his patients. They were not a number to him; they were important and listened to and many became friends. He loved the staff who worked for and with him, several remaining with him for many years, Robin and Mindy in particular near and dear to his heart. His daughters share how they loved watching him work and interact with his patients and remember many gifts he received from them. They would like to thank all of his former patients for their loyalty and kindnesses.

Jim met his wife Kathryn (Kitty) in August 2005. She was a longtime employee at Berks-Mont Newspapers (Boyertown), and he asked her to see a Bluegrass show with him. They both loved telling the stories regarding their first dates and finding love later in life.  They were happily married on August 2, 2013. The two enjoyed many adventures and travels together. He loved her wholeheartedly, and they were together in Chestnut Knoll at the end of his life. Their brief time apart from each other was heartbreaking to them both, and there wasn’t a dry eye when they were reunited there, if only for a brief time.  It was a beautiful love story that is inspirational to their daughters. May we all share love like Jim and Kitty!

Dr. Tribbett was the epitome of community service. He chose the Lions Club of Boyertown in 1969, because the Lions were allied with vision services. He served as President on four different occasions and was in charge of collecting eye glasses for redistribution, among other duties.  He also served on the Boyertown Area United Way board and as secretary for the Boyertown Lions Community Ambulance Service board. He was a strong supporter of the music, arts, theatrical and sports programs in Boyertown in addition to scholastic endeavors in the school system. He was asked each year to read to school children for “Read Across America” and always looked forward to that opportunity.

He had always been an admirer of those who served his community: the first responders, the police and many citizens who contributed to the enhancement of the quality of life in the greater Boyertown region. In addition to his extensive volunteer contributions, he was incredibly proud of the work he did with vision care through his four trips to Haiti; three trips to Ukraine to Boyertown’s sister city in Bohodukhiv; Guatemala; and Costa Rica (twice).

Jim loved his family immensely, and he loved Boyertown, horses, poker nights with his buddies, his jam sessions, music lessons, bluegrass music and playing the guitar and banjo. His passion for music lives on through his grandsons Jacob and Ben Hotaling. He will be remembered around town not only in spirit but by the bricks with his name along Boyertown sidewalks, a train car with the Tribbett name engraved and the most recent honor of the Board Room at the Boyertown Community Ambulance building being dedicated to him for his service.

Jim Tribbett is survived by his wife Kathryn Tribbett; sister Barbara Peterson of Parrish, Florida; daughters Angie Hernandez of La Quinta, California, Bonnie Rosario of Dripping Springs, Texas, Dawn Danielson of Monument, Colorado and Sharon Yacovelli of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania. His seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren loved listening to him play the guitar and banjo.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to one of the following: the Lions Club of Boyertown (PO Box 1141, Boyertown, PA 19512); Boyertown Community Ambulance Service (2 East Second Street, Boyertown, PA 19512); or to his friends in the Ukraine through an initiative to deliver boxes of food through MEEST.  He would love that we are carrying on looking after his friends there. If you so wish, you can donate or reach out to Linda Weinberger at lmweinberger@gmail.com.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, April 5, in the Friendship Hook and Ladder Company hall, 10 Warwick Street, Boyertown, PA 19512, from 4 to 8 pm.

10 Condolences
  1. Doc was my next door neighbor when he moved to Boyertown. So I guess I’ve know him as long as anyone in town. A few years later my mom had to walk all the way across the alley to work for him. Lots of memories. He was a good, well respected man. Peace Doc!

  2. I was a patient of Dr. Tribbetts since I was 19 years old. He fitted me for my first contacts when I was 21. I wore the old kind of hard lenses and he always commented how well I was wearing them. He was always an inspiration for me as I progressed through the initial wearing period of my contacts . I am still a patient there under Dr. Cara and hope to be with her for a long time to come. It’s always been a very positive and friendly experience visiting them each year. I will miss you alot Dr. Tribbett. Peace to you!

  3. My sincere condolences to Doc and his family. I will miss him so much. Knew him as a kid grew up playing many games of golf with him and saw so many different sides of a really super person! Damn, I was just talking to him awhile back and he wanted to get together with him and his friends at the diner. A visit I will kick myself in the butt for not doing. Rest well Doc! And hit another worm burner for me! Maybe you actually did give the game up after some of the rounds we had together. You swore you would!!

  4. Sending prayers and my deepest condolences to you. He was the sweetest man and gave the best hugs. Heaven has just gained a sweet angel. Lots of hugs and love to you all. Love, Lucy

  5. Condolences to Doc’s whole family. We were all fortunate to know such a kind and generous man over the years.

  6. I only knew Doc Tribbett through music. He was a fan of my band, Crow Hill, and of my “blue” banjo. We were at a concert together a little less than 2 years ago. The banjo player, Tony Mabe, of Junior Sisk’s band was playing a banjo that he had for sale. He said he’d be happy to let anyone interested check it out during the intermission. Doc and I both took him up on his offer and played it a bit and asked him more about it. My advantage was that I knew ahead of time from social media that he would have it on his tour, starting out in Pennsylvania that night, and I knew what he was asking for it. I came with the appropriate amount of 100 dollar bills and was prepared to buy it if I liked it. I did indeed like it and bought it. Doc seemed a little miffed that I came prepared and offered to split the cost and have “joint custody” of the banjo. I didn’t see how that was going to work, so I didn’t take him up on his offer. The next time Crow Hill played at the Blandon Lion’s Club park, Doc came early to see “his” banjo. I think he was happy with how I was taking care of it and how she sounded that night. Rest in Peace, Doc! I’ll have “blue” with me to play some of your favorite songs at your Celebration of Life.
    -Rev. Dr. Steven Simpson

  7. I’m shocked and saddened to learn of Doc’s passing. He was my longtime optometrist, landlord–and friend. He was a remarkable citizen. He and Kitty were a remarkable couple. Prayers and comfort to all of the family.

  8. Our condolences to you Kitty and the entire Tribbett family.

  9. Dr T was a pillar of the community and will be greatly missed by so many. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and all others he touched with his wit and kindness. May he rest peacefully.

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