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John Kenneth Tripp


A former Tiburon resident for 38 years and San Francisco advertising executive, John Tripp, 78, died quietly on December 5, 2020 in Mission Viejo, California as a result of Parkinson’s disease. His wife and sons were at his side.


Born in Bronxville, New York, John was the youngest of four and his brothers never let him forget it. He graduated from Bronxville High School where he and his future wife, Priscilla, were classmates.


A three-sport varsity player, he was given the Athletic Achievement Award when he graduated in 1960 and he also won the Louis Brinsmade Memorial Award, given to the athlete who displays athletic skill, sportsmanship and leadership. (Nevertheless, when he was captain of the basketball team as a senior, he would later point out with a smile that the team had a perfect record: 0-16.)


John graduated from Northwestern University in 1964 with a B.S degree in marketing and was in graduate school at New York University when his studies were interrupted by the draft. He spent three years in the military and was stationed primarily in Okinawa.


He and Priscilla were married in 1965 and moved to Tiburon in 1970. Following military service, he resumed a career in advertising at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample and then J. Walter Thompson, where he was a senior vice president. Among his accounts were Almaden Vineyards, Kaiser Permanente, Sun Microsystems and Washington Mutual Bank. In his later years, he preached what he had practiced and taught advertising at San Francisco State University.


John was a talented and gregarious person with wide-ranging interests from sports to music to writing. Self-taught, he played the piano and the guitar and performed solo and with several groups.


He never met a sport he didn’t like, so he played them all: football, basketball, tennis, golf, skiing and cycling (round trips on Mt. Tam). He also coached his beloved sons’ youth teams in soccer, basketball, and baseball, whether he’d played the sport or not.


An inveterate volunteer, John was a “big brother” to two boys and was named Big Brother of the Year in Marin in 1999.


But family was really his top priority. Trips to Tahoe in winter to ski at Squaw Valley or in summer to hike and play at the lake were special times for the family. Camping and road trips across the country with his sons were part of his repertoire.


He didn’t have a bucket list per se, but when it occurred to him that he had visited all 50 states but one, he took a road trip with the dog (his sons were grown and gone by then) to North Dakota.


John is survived by his wife; his sons and their wives, Cam (Jennifer) of Edmonds, Washington and Kevin (Katie) of Huntington Beach, California; four outstanding grandchildren Gabriel, Fiona, Nathan and Charlie Tripp; and four nieces and nephews.


Memorial donations may be made to any Parkinson’s organization or to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.

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