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Tribble laid to rest after fatal mishap

South Boston News
Ryan Tribble / May 12, 2014
Saturday’s funeral for Ryan Tribble, a 23-year-old Nathalie man who died in a Thursday workplace accident in Lynchburg, brought forth an outpouring of praise from friends who remember Tribble for his humility, talent and way with people.

“He was such an outstanding young man — everybody thought the world of him,” said Charles W. Daniel, a friend through their shared enthusiasm for skeet shooting. Before Tribble gave up the sport to go off to Pennsylvania to study diesel mechanics, he was a multiple state champion and “one of the best two or three shooters in the state,” recalled Daniel.

As much for his skill, Tribble was special because of his loyalty to those around him, remembers another of his skeet shooting partners, Robert Williams of Ashland.

Williams, who paired up with Tribble to compete in two-man shooting events, recalled once telling his much younger teammate, “you’re better than I am. You need to go get a better partner.” Then a teen, Tribble replied, “No, if I can’t shoot with you, then I won’t shoot at all,” Williams recalled. “That tells you what kind of person he was.

“You’d never know how good he was because he never flaunted it.”

Added Williams: “He was probably one of the finest young men I’ve ever met in my life. Raised with a good Christian background [by his family]. You couldn’t find finer people in the world.”

Tribble died Thursday at Lynchburg General Hospital following an accident that took place earlier that morning at his place of work, Hawkins-Graves Equipment, located at 13423 Ward’s Road, Lynchburg.

According to Major L.T. Guthrie of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, his office received a call at 9:23 a.m. that an employee had been seriously injured at the company’s work shop. Police say Tribble had been been struck in the neck by a metal object, providing no other details.

Rescue personnel transported Tribble to Lynchburg General Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries

The accident is being investigated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Calls to Hawkins-Graves which advertises itself on the Internet as a construction and mining machinery company offering equipment rentals, sales and services, were not returned.

A family friend of Ryan Tribble and his parents — Angela and Wayne Tribble of Stage Coach Road — echoed authorities’ description of the mishap: “a freak accident,” said Johnny Pillow of Brookneal.

“If it [the metal piece] had gone an inch one way or another, it might have been a minor accident,” said Pillow, executive vice-president of The Bank of Charlotte County.

Pillow, also a shooting enthusiast, noted that Tribble was a “world class skeet shooter” — the only Virginia shooter who has ever hit 400 consecutive targets in four shotgun divisions, 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge and .410 gauge. He accomplished the perfect score twice, in 2006, as a teenager at the Arrowhead Gun Club near Chase City. He went on to win the overall state championship that year, one of his numerous state titles.

Pillow said Tribble was “good at everything he did” but had a special aptitude for tasks that required extra concentration. “It’s not that hard to hit the targets [in skeet shooting] but you really have to focus and concentrate to hit 400 targets in a row,” he said.

“All that focus and discipline and the mind games you have to play to get 400 straight — that carried over to work and to school and everything he did.”

After graduating from Halifax County High School in 2009, Tribble enrolled in a Pennsylvania mechanic training school to develop his gift for engine work. Attending school, then working full-time in Lynchburg, brought a halt to his competitive shooting career, but Pillow said he was happy to see Tribble make the career choice: “He loved to turn wrenches and he loved to work on stuff, and I knew he’d do fine.”

“Technical trades are good things for kids to do. There are plenty of jobs in those fields. If you can do things with your hands, you can always get a job,” he said.

Added Daniel: “Everybody who knows him said he was a crackerjack mechanic, one of the best you ever saw.” But “the thing that impressed people most about the Ryan was he was soft-spoke, easy-going, the most well-mannered man you ever saw.

“Everybody that knew Ryan considered it a blessing to be his friend. He always had time to stop and speak to people. You could tell how well he was raised.”

On Saturday, a crowd of some 500 people ventured to Clover Bottom Baptist Church to pay last respects to their late friend.

A 2009 graduate of Halifax County High School, Tribble was the son of Angela and Wayne Tribble. He is survived by a sister, Emily Anne Tribble; a special friend, Taylor Rather; his paternal grandparents, George and Doris Ann Tribble, all of Nathalie; his maternal grandmother, Betty Jones Terry of Altavista; two uncles, Andy Jones of Gretna, Keith Tribble (Jill) of Nathalie; three aunts, Alesia Tucker (Wayne) of Long Island, Audrey Jones of Gretna and Lorean Wade of Nathalie.

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