Family Owned and Operated

Welcome to the memorial page for

Rev. Dr. John K. Tritenbach

October 25, 1933 ~ July 29, 2017 (age 83)

Rev. Dr. John K Tritenbach’s life experiences and observations shaped him into a man who embodied caring, intention and persistence – always with integrity.

Childhood home Schenectady, NY – raised through the depression: 1) began his calling to serve others through ministry, counseling, education, political involvement and direct action. 2) Shaped his frugal, prioritized budgeting! It also helped that his mother’s family were all bankers and lawyers while his father’s side were Presbyterian ministers.  **Relished his summers on Lake Michigan fishing with his Grandpa!

Teenage/early college years – Pasadena, CA - lettered in Debate - wasn't allowed to play sports

Education integral his entire life, earning AA’s, BA’s, MA’s and PHD from Univ. of Pacific, Cal Berkley and San Francisco Theological Seminary – working while earning all degrees

Served:            Pasadena, CA –  Youth

Corcoran, CA – Fair working conditions for immigrant Farm Laborers (CaesarChavez) and Youth

Mendocino, CA – Integrating not ostracizing hippie and commune ideals into Christianity, Headlands State Park – forever protecting 347 acres of coastal bluffs and beaches

Aptos, CA – Family Clusters (Intergenerational groups fulfilling roles of distanced/traditional family, ECHO – Elder Care Housing transitioning from independent to nursing/hospice – all on same grounds

Bellingham, WA – Music, Youth and Arts

Hebron, Deshler and Alexandria, NE – yoking rural congregations

Carlsbad, NM – w/ Gene Harbaugh provided bridge pastoring between ministers

Two Pulpit Exchanges – Ireland and Scotland( taking 4 teenagers all over Europe!)

Officiated 275+ wedding w/ pre-counseling – refused to marry 2 couples – both returned acknowledged he was correct!

Knowledgeable/Wise – knew 7 languages, could give you the objective or his subjective knowledge of most religions, corrected Bible Trivia errors = 2nd edition!  Largest Presbyterian/Reformed Church/Building postcard collection in the world - he donated it -phew!

Chaplain in the Navy Reserves as an officer - mostly at 29 Palms - rarely on a boat!

Married, two children, became single parent in mid 70’s – unconventiona!  He achieved providing us a stable, well rounded, “normal” childhood full of opportunities and rich cultural experiences.  Seeing to our well-being was always his #1 priority.  Drove us across town every day for better educational opportunities, drove “teams” and attended all extra-curricular sports/activities all over North/Central CA!!! Wrote postcards to us before we left for camp - 1st kids to get mail!  Instilled values, integrity and respect in us, therefore trusted us as young adults to make decisions for ourselves – including curfew and dating - he never remarried -suitors tried :-).  Both Mark and I are voratious readers, started in dad's arms in his black leather chair.  He learned to cook simple but tasty (he was upfront about his mother's lack of talent, healthy dinners, no potato chips or soda, always plenty for friends!  He taught us to appreciate nice things as long as they were useful.   

Intolerance was intolerable - acceptance and understanding  - friends from ALL walks of life.

If he said something, he meant - you had maybe 48 hrs to try to express your opinion.  He was a masterful punner -  

Retired from 46+ years of passionate ministry to care for his grandsons.  No outsider was going to have that much quality time with his grandkids.  Crumpa  changed diapers, read endless stories, helped run storytime at Living Desert and more.  He gave them incomparable memories, even a huge train layout in his bedroom!

His life was fullfilled in seeing: Will flourish in sports, graduate with academic honors and attend Cal Poly majoring in Architecture - driving his standard Mustang - another goal of Crampa's!

Kollen flourish in art, baking, golf and problem solving, learn to drive a standard and provide him his first car – drive standard/provide cars – another agenda of Crumpa's!
John enjoyed seeing his “earnings” spent through known and anonymous contributions. He was a humble philanthropic.  

Survivors are his son, Mark Tritenbach and wife, Amy of Aromas, California; daughter, Anna Marie Fiala and husband, Alan of Carlsbad, NM; grandsons: Will Fiala, III and Kollen Fiala; brother, David Tritenbach and wife, Jean of Kerrville, Texas; sister, Hope Bower and husband, Chuck of Redding, California; one niece and two nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 309 W. Shaw St., Carlsbad, NM  88220 or The Friends of the Living Desert State Park, P.O. Box 100, Carlsbad, NM 88221.

 Service Information

Memorial Service
August 19, 2017

10:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church
212 N. Halagueno
Carlsbad, NM 88220

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