Cover photo for Jon Charles Tribble's Obituary
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1962 Jon 2019

Jon Charles Tribble

December 3, 1962 — October 2, 2019

CARBONDALE - Jon Tribble, an award-winning poet, writer, teacher, and editor, died October 2, 2019 in Carbondale, Illinois. He is survived by his wife Allison Joseph (Carbondale, IL), mother Betty G. Tribble (Silver Spring, MD), brother and sister-in-law Dr. David and Laura Tribble (Rockville, MD), sister-in-law Sharon Joseph (Carbondale, IL), nephew Jonathan Luther (Phoenix, AZ) and nieces Katherine Tarwacki (Steve Tarwacki, Burke, VA) and Caroline Tribble (Charleston, SC). He was preceded in death by his father, Clifford Ray Tribble and his sister Elisabeth Luther.

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1962, Jon was a graduate of Little Rock’s Parkview High School, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Indiana University Bloomington, where he earned an MA in English Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing, studying with such literary luminaries as poets Yusef Komunyakaa, Maura Stanton, Richard Cecil, and David Wojahn. In Bloomington, he met and married his wife, poet and writer Allison Joseph, forming a literary partnership that would last for over thirty years.

Hired at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1994, Joseph and Tribble helped to found the influential literary magazine Crab Orchard Review, a journal that publishes emerging and established writers from around the world. Tribble served as managing editor for the journal’s entire existence, and also is the founding editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, a book series that numbers over 80 volumes of poems. He also taught classes in literature, creative writing, and literary publishing in the Department of English, bringing his real-life publishing expertise to countless generations of students. Though Joseph and Tribble had no children, they both mentored and supported generations of poets and writers in their roles as teachers and editors.

Tribble was a prolific and brilliant poet in his own right, and authored several poetry collections: Natural State (Glass Lyre Press), a meditation on his childhood in his home state of Arkansas, and And There Is Many a Good Thing (Salmon Publishing), a book of poems that took Tribble to locales as varied as Egypt, South Texas, Queens, New York, Indiana, and Illinois. His third book, God of the Kitchen (Glass Lyre Press), explored Tribble’s adolescent job as a fast food worker at Kentucky Fried Chicken, an unlikely subject for poems, but one Tribble handled with skill and sensitivity. A fourth collection is forthcoming from Salmon Publishing. Tribble’s individual poems appeared in countless magazines and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Poetry, the Jazz Poetry Anthology, and Where We Live: Illinois Poets. His many awards include the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize, the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize from Sarah Lawrence College, and scholarships and fellowships from the prestigious Sewanee Writers Conference and the Illinois Arts Council.

Dual celebrations of Tribble’s life and artistry will be held in Carbondale, Illinois and in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.

A time of visitation will be held from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale. Then a time of readings and reflections will start at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday at the funeral home.

His family requests that memorial donations in his name be made to Heifer International, his favorite charity.

Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale is assisting the family with arrangements.

To order memorial trees in memory of Jon Charles Tribble, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, November 2, 2019

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Gathering Time

Monday, December 16, 2019

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Lakeside Recreation Center Camp Aldersgate

2000 Aldersgate Road, Little Rock, AR 72205

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Memorial Service

Friday, March 6, 2020

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

The Westin Riverwalk Hotel, Encino Room

420 West Market Street, San Antonio, TX 78205

Jon Tribble Tribute and Memorial Poetry Reading

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