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Henry Tribe

Posted by: 9988

1927 - 2022

Henry Tribe at the BMS Open Meeting, Kew 2017. Credit: Stuart SkeatesHenry Tribe passed away in November 2022.  His wife, Katharina, writes this belated note about Henry's many interests, including his love of fungi.

"I am Henry Tribe's wife... and should have told the BMS a while ago... that my beloved Henry, my husband of nearly 59 years... died on November 17th, 2022. He was 95! Only now, I am just about able to write to the BMS, which Henry so loved, was so connected and committed to.  My son-in-law, Toby Carter, wrote an obituary that appeared in the Cambridge Natural History Society's Nature in Cambridgeshire publication*. But what Henry did for the Cambridge Natural History Society is totally different to all he did for the BMS. Although: maybe the same. His efforts, knowledge, support, passion, the time he gave.

"Henry loved me since August 1964, when he first set eyes on me. We married on 19th of March, 1965. We met at the International Club in Cambridge, dancing dances from all over the world. I am Swiss. Never planned to marry an Englishman or live in England. Or wanting a man with a handlebar moustache! When I first saw him, I wrote to all my families and friends and added a drawing I made. His moustache from the front, the side and, from behind...

"One thing Henry loved was his 'Millenium Bug'. The aim for this 2-million times enlarged E.coli bacterium was to enable the public to gain an idea of the inner workings of the bacterium, which was five meters long and two meters tall. For people to see parts they would never normally see and be amazed! 

"Henry was interested in fungi all his life. Especially the ones he needed a microscope to see and study.  He made many amazing exhibits for Chelsea Flower Shows; I always went to see the exhibitions!  He probably invested most time for the BMS in the 1896 - 1996 Centenary Exhibition and Celebration. He also created himself - and had made - many models of all kinds of fungi. Henry found these amazing glass models abandoned under the cellar stairs at the then School of Agriculture - on the floor, mainly broken. I remember when he brought them home, and washed them all.

"He totally adored the fungi models of Eileen Chattaway, who so unexpectedly died, far too early. Her daughter, Lorraine Stevens, was in contact with Henry, and I too got to know her. They were great friends. Henry also asked Shirley Talboys to exhibit her simply exceptional and totally stunning models.  It is such a joy and privilege to get to know people of such skills and dedication.

"For a while, I was still receving BMS updates for Henry.  He would have been totally and utterly excited about all the things which are happening right now! People he would have loved to meet, follow their amazing research, insights, knowledge... many so young and so gifted. 

"With love and all my best wishes

Katharina Tribe


Photo: Henry Tribe at the BMS Autumn Open Meeting, Kew 2017. Credit: Stuart Skeates

* Carter, T. (2023) Henry Tribe (1927-2022). Nature in Cambridgeshire 65: 139-142