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Willis R. (“Bill”) Tribler 1934-2016

Willis R. (“Bill”) TriblerWillis R. (“Bill”) Tribler, a founding member and senior partner of the law firm of Tribler Orpett & Meyer, died early Saturday, December 3, after a brief hospitalization.

An unquestionably brilliant lawyer and strategic thinker, Bill Tribler was admired as a mentor and friend to hundreds in the legal community, not only in Chicago but throughout Illinois. Bill specialized in the defense of civil litigation. He was a renowned expert in the fields of professional liability and insurance coverage.  Bill was very proud of being a lawyer and adhered to and championed the highest ethical standards. In keeping with those ethical standards, Bill served on the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) Oversight Committee from 2004-2014, and on the ARDC Inquiry Board from 2004-2013.

Although Bill practiced almost exclusively on the defense side, he had many friends among the plaintiff's bar as well. While a fierce advocate for his clients, Bill knew how to disagree without being disagreeable, and few were immune to his self-deprecating sense of humor and storytelling talents.

In addition to practicing law and assuming a leadership role within the law firm, Bill firmly believed in "giving back" to the legal profession. He was active in a number of legal organizations. For example, Bill was a prolific writer, teacher and speaker (for over 40 years) for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), publishing over 20 handbook chapters, serving as Board Chair (1992-1993) and was awarded the Addis E. Hull Award for his outstanding contributions.  For the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC), Bill initiated a scholarly publication (The Quarterly), served as its first Editor and continued writing a regular column for many years thereafter.  In 1984-1985 he served as IDC President, and subsequently received its highest honors (the John E. Guy and Distinguished Member Awards) for his exemplary service. Bill was also honored by the IDC in 1999 for his exceptional efforts in compiling the 35-year history of the organization.  Bill served in the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)  Assembly, was on the Editorial Board of the Illinois Bar Journal, and also received the ISBA's highest awards (the Medal of Merit and Laureate designation) for his many contributions. A proud graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, Bill was later recognized as a Distinguished Graduate of the law school in 1996. He graduated from Bradley University in 1955, and in 2001 was honored with the Most Distinguished Alumni and Centurion Awards for his service to Bradley.

An avid sports fan, his allegiance to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the University of Illinois athletics was known to all who knew him.  

Bill is survived by his wife Kathryn.  A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, 2016, at the Elmira United Presbyterian Church, in Elmira, IL. Visitation at the Church commencing at 12:00 noon.  Reception immediately after the funeral service will be held at the Church.  For more information, please contact Rux Funeral Home, Kewanee, IL at 1-309-853-4100 or at  A memorial service to be held in Chicago in celebration of Bill’s life and legal career is being planned for April.  Memorial contributions in remembrance of Bill may be made to the University of Illinois College of Law, Advancement Department, Class of 1960, 504 East Pennsylvania Avenue, Champaign, Illinois 61820, or to Bradley University, c/o Y.A. Heghin Endowed Scholarship Fund, 1501 Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL 61625.        

Posted on December 7, 2016 by Morgan Yingst