George E. Ribar

August 22, 1935 ~ September 12, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old

George Ribar Obituary

In the early morning hours of September 12, 2023, George E. Ribar of Reading, PA passed away at Complete Care at Berkshire in Exeter Township, Reading where he had resided since July 14, 2023.  Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about five years ago, George was under hospice care in the final stages of this debilitating disease when he passed.

George was born on August 22, 1935 in Detroit, MI, to George and Ruth Ribar.  When a toddler George’s father abandoned his wife and four children creating a very difficult childhood for George and his siblings.  As the youngest child, George suffered abuse from his two stepfathers, and at the age of 13, small and undernourished, he was declared a ward of the court in MI and placed in a Jesuit home for boys, St. Joseph’s, in Detroit.  He would later say this was the best thing that happened to him in his childhood.  He had food, clothing, and a safe environment along with the discipline and religious leadership of the Jesuit Brothers to guide him in his teenage years.

Although George loved  to read, he was bored with school and quit in the eighth grade.  He struggled with low paying jobs before deciding to hitchhike to CA in his twenties for a better life.  This "better life” included living on LA’s Skid Row, eating in soup kitchens, rolling cigarettes from butts he picked up off the streets, and when necessary, using his most prized possession, his dictionary, as collateral when he needed to borrow money from his new LA “friends.”

George found himself at a crossroad in his life.  He could choose a road to education and success or continue down the road to destruction.  He chose the road to education.  One of his “friends” suggested he apply to LA City College where he could get an education without a high school diploma.  He enrolled in introductory classes and found he excelled in both Mathematics and Chemistry, becoming the top Chemistry student two years in a row and graduating in 1967 with an AA degree in Chemistry.  For 14 years he became the perennial student, graduating from California State University of Los Angeles with degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics in 1972.

Sometimes too much education is a bad thing, and George was finding his lack of work experience a difficult challenge at job interviews.  A chemistry teacher told George to change his field of study to life sciences and recommended a course in Cardiopulmonary technology at Hollywood Presbyterian.  George completed that course and was hired for a position as Cardiovascular Technician at USC/LA County Hospital in 1974.  One of the cardiologists at County, Dr. Francis Y. K. Lau,  became George’s mentor.  As he had done in his 14 years in college, George diligently studied this new field, improving techniques in the lab, and became Dr. Lau’s “diamond in the rough.”  George was now a very integral part of a team, so when Dr. Lau retired from County Hospital and took over the head of Cardiology at White Memorial Hospital in LA, he took George with him as his chief CV Tech.  Together they took 5 trips to mainland China in the early 80’s and 90’s teaching modern cardiology procedures to the re-emerging Chinese doctors.

In November 1975, during his early years at County Hospital, George married his wife, Elizabeth (Liz) Brown at the Rosewood Wedding Chapel in Burbank CA.  In 1976 they bought a home for Liz’s mother and aunts in Exeter, Reading, PA, and often traveled east to check out the family and the property.  Vacationing in PA became a respite for George from the rat race of CA.  Therefore in 1995, when George retired from White Memorial Hospital, he moved east to Reading to spend his retirement years with his wife Liz.  He thoroughly enjoyed his 28 years of retirement here in Exeter Township.  Walking became a form of therapy as well as exercise for George.  He became a very familiar presence on Butter Lane walking 5 miles every day through the streets of Pennside and Stony Creek, carrying pepper spray and a walking stick for protection. But when Parkinson’s made walking outside too dangerous, he drove to the local Exeter Walmart  and walked 15 laps inside around the perimeter to equal the 5 miles he walked outside.  Those Walmart employees became his extended family and protectors.  He enjoyed telling Liz stories about his new friends at Walmart, friends Liz got to meet when they visited him at the Berkshire.  George touched many people in his lifetime, creating smiles wherever he traveled.  God blessed him with the greatest sense of humor and quick wit, a giving nature, and an inflexible sense of right and wrong.  Within our family, his honesty was legendary.  He was our John Galt. 

George leaves behind his wife Liz, a half brother Charles Amsbary of Iowa, and several nieces and nephews throughout the states.  He was predeceased by his mother Ruth Fincher, sisters IIeane Ribar, Gertrude Henzie, and Margaret Fincher.

Abiding by his wishes, George wanted no “pomp and circumstance,” no frills, flowers, or obits.  Just remember him by doing something nice for someone else and pay it forward because that was who he was. And, if possible, consider donating to the Parkinson’s Foundation to help find a cure for this devastating disease or donate to any charity of your choice. 


A special thank you to all the skilled nursing staff at Berkshire for their special attention to George while he was a patient under their care as well as the team of nurses and rehab tech staff that worked with him at Encompass Rehab.  

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