Tristram C. Colket Jr.



Paoli, Pa.

Written by the loving family who held Tris so dear.

Tristram C. Colket Jr., 82, a man who loved his family above all else, passed away on July 6, 2020, embraced by those he loved. Tris’ zest for life was contagious. His joy came from time spent with his family doing the things he loved. Tris was always smiling when behind the helm of a sailboat on the Maine coast, piloting a plane, on his tractor or with a fly rod in hand.

Mr. Colket, known by close friends as “Tris,” was born in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Tristram C. Colket and Ethel Dorrance Colket on April 19, 1938. He graduated from The Hun School of Princeton and attended Trinity College. He married Ruth Marie Mueller on Feb. 4, 1967, in Wilmington, Del. Mr. Colket was the grandson of the late John T. and Ethel M. Dorrance. Dr. Dorrance was the inventor of condensed soup and founder of the Campbell Soup Co.

Tris launched his career with North American Smelting Co. This experience laid the groundwork for a long and successful life of entrepreneurship that included the acquisition and founding of several companies in metal manufacturing, software development, robotics, high-tech manufacturing equipment and the airline industry. The highlight of his professional achievement was the founding of Cressona Aluminum Co. in 1979.

Tris’ generosity of spirit did not end with his family. He was a lifelong supporter and later board member of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, eventually becoming chairman of the Research Institute. His passion for research led to the creation the Ruth and Tristram Colket Jr. Translational Research Building. Tris was especially dedicated to medical philanthropy, due in part to the loss of his sister to leukemia at a young age.

While Tris supported Philadelphia philanthropies including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Franklin Institute and the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, many other nonprofits benefited from his knowledge and generosity. He was dedicated to Acadia National Park, Maine Seacoast Mission, Atlantic Salmon Federation and Quebec-Labrador Foundation.

Tris/Dad/Grandpa T is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Ruth, who dedicated herself to his continuing comfort and well-being. He is also survived by Carolyn C. Cullen and her husband, Craig Wood Cullen Jr; Tristram C. Colket III and his wife, Robin; and Bryan D. Colket and his wife, Jayme. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Catherine, Marina, Emma, Tristram IV, Craig, Taylor, Robert and Miller; and two great-grandchildren, Roman and Raven. Mr. Colket is also survived by his sister, Charlotte C. Weber.

Dad led his life by example, teaching us to love and enjoy every moment we are given.

Donations in Mr. Colket’s memory can be made to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Donor Relations at (267) 426-5332; or via U.S. mail at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, P.O. Box 781352, Philadelphia, PA 19178 or the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Know when to pay your respects.