Carthage lost an icon on January 6, 2021. Patty Tribby, longtime Carthage resident, joined her beloved mother Marie and her aunts in eternal afterlife. Patty was a character, just ask anyone who knew her! She would often be found sitting on the bench outside of her store on Main Street, or sitting on the bench in front of Todd’s Great Outdoors visiting with her buddy Mindi, or taking walks, no matter the weather. If you knew Patty, you knew she hated cooking, had never met a stranger and loved to have visitors stop by the store.

She didn’t mind sharing her opinion whether it agreed with yours or not, she wasn’t shy! She made weekly visits to nursing homes until covid struck to visit friends and family. She was a staple at community functions, and a connoisseur of little dogs in BBQ sauce! You can sum Patty up by saying, she was devoted to her family and friends, and above all really loved the children of Carthage.

Marie Tribby bought a local variety store in Carthage from Ruth McDaniel and opened Marie’s Variety Shop on Feb. 8, 1953. Determined to own a successful business she worked hard every day and instilled that same work ethic in her only child Patty.

Patty was a devoted daughter and niece who put her family before everything. When Marie passed Patty knew she would continue the small town traditions her mother started years ago. The store would always have penny candy for the kids in town (even if Patty paid more than a penny a piece for it)!

Sophie Logan, town resident, perhaps captured the town’s sentiment best when she wrote on Facebook saying, “She was very special to us. She would talk about how she can’t even get the candy for a penny anymore but refused to raise the price because that’s what her mom charged and she wanted to stick to what people always knew the store as – the penny candy store. I have a daycare on Second St. in Carthage. The park and Miss Patty’s were 2 of the things the kids begged to do. We’d walk to the candy store, she’d hand each of them a paper sack and laugh at how well behaved they were. We never got out in under an hour, kids just made her so happy and brightened her day. She will be missed by everyone in this town and by anyone who has a memory of her, because she was the type of person that it only took meeting her one time and you never forgot her.”

Many local residents posted memories on Facebook of Patty and the often lifelong relationship they had with that little penny candy store on Main and it’s owners. Lots of items were sold at the Variety Store, but the penny candy was the thing everyone loved.

Debbie Gibson’s comment, ”So sad that a very special Icon of Carthage is gone. Second generation to a lot of us, Patty the Candy Lady to our young generation.”

Perhaps one of the most touching tributes I have ever seen was displayed in the outpouring of love and respect shown by the town Saturday afternoon. After Patty’s service in Knightstown, the funeral procession slowly made its way to Patty’s final resting place beside her mother in Arlington. A short pause in front of the shop Patty poured so much of her life into was planned. Approximately 100 people braved the cold to gather in front of the Variety Store and waited to say one last goodbye to Patty as the procession passed by. You could feel the love and sense of loss the community felt. I hope Patty truly knows how much she meant to all of us.

As an ongoing tribute to the Tribby’s and all they meant to our town, two local businesses, Todd’s Great Outdoors and Marick Event Center, have pledged to make sure the penny candy table is a tradition that will continue for many years to come for the children of our town.

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