Jon Eric Tribble

Jon Eric "Ric" Tribble

Wednesday, August 18th, 1943 - Thursday, June 3rd, 2021
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Following two decades of bravely overcoming myriad maladies, Ric Tribble passed peacefully surrounded by family and seemingly at peace with the fate brought by his final illness.

Jon Eric “Ric” Tribble was born on August 18, 1943 in Hays, Kansas. He was the youngest of four children of Katherine and Carl Tribble. Some eight years younger than his closest sibling, he was the prototypical fourth child who kept his parents on their toes. Yet he was always the apple of his mother’s eye, who adored him until her own passing in 1993.

As a child, Ric moved around with his family. His father worked for pipeline companies in Kansas and Ric spent time in schools in many small towns. His high school years were divided between the southeastern Kansas towns of Chanute and Garnett, and he considered these two his early homes.

Ric was President of his college fraternity at Pittsburg State College in Pittsburg, Kansas, majoring in economics. He was recruited from college to a Southwestern Bell management program and, after a ten-week training, was offered a position as manager of the Dodge City office. A short stent in this role was all it took for Ric to realize that he did not aspire to a life in corporate management and that he wanted to have some semblance of his own lock on destiny, which led him to become a manufacturers’ representative in the apparel trade.

Also during this time, Ric joined the U.S. Army Reserves and served as a Second Lieutenant in the 137th Infantry Regiment, earning a sharpshooter qualification.

In the apparel business, Ric made many friends and visited many restaurants. His mother, KK as she became known to a legion of grandchildren, was a critic and connoisseur of all things edible, and she passed this cursed gift on to her youngest son, as she did to his older siblings. They all became particular, if not in fact picky. So as Ric travelled the various towns and occasional cities of the Midwest, he scouted out good meals and took note of bad ones. He kept a mental diary of things he loved which would become an important part of his future.

In 1975, Ric married Mary McCurry in Kansas City. Mary was an apparel buyer for a department store and the two quickly joined in the business of apparel sales. The newlyweds first lived together on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City before buying a bungalow in Manhattan, Kansas.

The apparel business was a seasonal one, and perhaps it left Ric too much time to get into trouble, for in 1979 he opened his first restaurant, Ric’s Café. It was a quiet and hard-to-find place a bit afield to the campus of Kansas State University, yet it became a place that is still remembered by people surviving from those distant days. In Manhattan, Kansas, this was perhaps the first restaurant to feature steak tartare, escargot, and other continental standards that hadn’t previously reached the Kansas Prairie.

Everette Ray Call, Editor of the Emporia Gazette, hosted Norman Isaacs for dinner at the restaurant in 1980 and subsequently wrote in his regular editorial column, “there is something about the atmosphere at Ric’s Café that inspires good conversation.” The friends Ric and Mary made in their days at Ric’s café were vast and long-lasting and, to this day, are still among visitors to their home in Lancaster. And those same friends have hosted them in many distant places as well as closer to home.

Ric’s only son, Max, was born in 1980. In 1998, as a freshman in a lecture hall of 300 students, Max was asked by his economics professor during the first roll call if he was “the son of Ric’s Café,” of which his parents had divested in 1981. Such a place it was that it still held strong in the memory of Manhattanites then, as it does today. And throughout Max’s four years as a student at Kansas State, this was a recurring theme: “Tribble? Ric’s Café?”

In 1986, the apparel business took Ric and his family to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In his early days in Lancaster, Ric became involved in the YMCA through his life-long passion for handball. He competed in the statewide over-50 championships. During this time, he also volunteered for Hogares-CREA.

In 1994, Ric and Mary founded Ric’s Breads. While their mainstay operation at Lancaster’s Central Market is still operating today, they also had stands at York Central Market and Harrisburg’s West Shore Market. Ric operated a bakery at 414 N. Pine Street for many years before opening the bakery on North Queen Street, where Ric’s Bread is still in business.

In 2004, Ric suffered a heart attack. Though at first it appeared that he would get by with minimally-invasive procedures and return to a normal life, his condition rapidly devolved and in April of 2004, Ric received a heart transplant. He had spent a mere five weeks in the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania prior to the transplant, and only about ten days after, but he always held a reverence for the institution and the surgeons and medical team who saw him through this unimaginable phase of life.

In 2005, Ric and Mary sold the bakery and Ric joined Mary in the real estate business. Ric loved real estate and, even at 62, took to it naturally. Several years later, with their partner Scott Haverstick, Ric and Mary bought the Puffer Morris Agency in downtown Lancaster where Ric served as broker. Together these three “older” Lancastrians embarked on a new business that kept Ric engaged until the very end of his life.

In his later years, Ric continued to be engaged in the community, volunteering for the Literacy Council to help immigrants learn to read and write in English. He was a co-founder and the first President of the Lancaster Central Market Trust.

In 2018, with 14 years of transplant-survival under his belt, Ric began to slow down. After nearly two months of hospitalization, the surgeon who had placed the new heart into his body a decade and a half before repaired two leaking valves and performed a bypass surgery. It was noted as being the first mitral valve repair to a transplanted heart performed at the University of Pennsylvania. Before long, Ric was spry again, back at work and back to much of his normal life. He was able to travel a bit and to spend time with his only grandchild, Dayton Williams Tribble, who will always remember his Pop Pop as a funny and kind man who liked to tease him and play fun jokes.

Ric loved to travel and was a student of architecture, history and cooking during his trips to France, Italy and Spain, but he may have enjoyed his time in England the most, describing the cuisine in generous terms. Ric and Mary had a trip planned to France in May of 2020 and, like the plans of so many, it was interrupted by circumstances beyond anyone’s control. He made the most of a long and isolating year, still cooking and baking at home.

Ric is predeceased by his brother Carl Jr. of Summit Point WV, and his sisters Katherine and Jerri Anne, both of Fort Worth, Texas. He is survived by his wife, Mary, with whom he celebrated 46 years of marriage in this past Valentine’s Day, his son, Max Tribble of Lancaster, and his grandson, Dayton Williams Tribble of Colchester, Vermont, and his sister-in-law, Patricia of Summit Point, WV.

A remembrance will be held at the Lancaster Theological Seminary at 11 am on Friday, June 11. The family will receive friends beginning at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Ric’s name may be made to Lancaster Central Market Trust, 23 N. Market St., Lancaster PA 17602 or to Lancaster Theological Seminary, 555 W. James St., Lancaster, PA 17603. Please note Ric Tribble Fund on memo line of checks. The Groff-High Funeral Home, New Holland is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be posted at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, June 11th, 2021 | 10:00am - 11:00am
    Friday, June 11th, 2021 10:00am - 11:00am
    Lancaster Theological Seminary
    555 W. James St.
    LANCASTER, PA 17603
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Friday, June 11th, 2021 | 11:00am
    Friday, June 11th, 2021 11:00am
    Lancaster Theological Seminary
    555 W. James St.
    LANCASTER, PA 17603
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email



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Beau Vallance

Posted at 03:40pm
We knew Ric and Mary in Manhattan Kansas, rich and interesting years. On Jack's unofficial list of people who have made major differences in towns we have lived in, Ric is right up there at the top, swooping in to a college town on the prairie and starting the soon-to-be-legendary Ric's Cafe. Ric's became the center of our social lives there, with friends gathering regularly for amazing meals and Jack playing piano on Friday nights; we thought Ric had invented baked brie. (Jack also attests to Ric's prowess on the handball court.) We saw them in Lancaster at least once, adding to the repertoire of times we sat around drinking wine in their kitchens with pasta drying on coathangers. We best remember Max as a baby on Mary's hip at the restaurant, so time has flown; we are lucky to have known Ric and to have benefited by his passion for food and friends. Our best to Mary, who's always been our regular source of news about Manhattan even years after we all left. They've been good friends, and we're so very grateful that Ric's new heart gave us so many more years with him in our orbit. He made a difference to us all. -- Beau Vallance and Jack Carpenter, Bloomington IN

Carl Tribble

Posted at 02:44pm
I will always remember a fun trip in 79-80 to visit Ric and Mary. We got to sample Ric's cafe and I went with him on a grocery run. We never lived near enough to spend much time together but we will sure miss him. He was a great guy.

Kris Shaffer

Posted at 12:22pm
This is so sad. Mary, Max, and Bud, my heart goes out to you all. I remember the first time I met Ric at Ric's cafe before any work had been done on the space. Daddy said I needed to go talk to his friend, Ric, because he is going to open a restaurant. You will like him he said, yet I was skeptical! Ric was in the rough space, soon to be Ric's Cafe and he pointed to the ceiling and said everywhere there was a white chalked X there would be a small chandelier and the ceiling would be red. I was hooked. Ric's cafe was one of my favorite restaurants EVER not just because of the wonderful food, interesting clientele, lovely ambiance, and exceptional co-workers, but most of all because of Ric and Mary. I miss those days and his cheery smile. Mary, you are lucky to have had such a good partner all these years He is missed. oxoxoxxoxo

Veronika Eagleson

Posted at 10:48pm
We are so very sad to hear about Ric's passing. I met Ric and Mary through our home purchase in Lancaster in 2014 and from that time they made a point to stay in touch and invite us into their circle of friends..
I don't know how many times I chased Ric and Mary across Lancaster county to find a more perfect home and each time, they indulged me graciously, with sage advice and sometimes with strong opinions :) and always, always together.
I loved Ric's wonderful fashion sense, his love for literature especially those mystery novels, his love for food and most of all his genuine kindness.
A gentle man in every sense. My heart aches for you both.

Barbara McCurry

Posted at 04:20pm
Dear Mary, we are sending our love and heartfelt condolences to you and your family on Ric's passing. In reading about him, Ric was an amazing human being who shared his passion and talents throughout his life with those he loved and met along the way. It doesn't get any better than that. Would have loved to sample his homemade bread, hot and buttered straight out of the oven! So glad you shared so many loving years with Ric, a true partner for you in this life. Hoping his memory, his recipes, and the good times you shared together will sustain you going forward. With love and sympathy, Barb and Joel McCurry

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