Truman K. ("T.K.") Bristoll

April 27, 1927 - September 9, 2013

SOUTH KORTRIGHT - Truman Kenly Bristoll, a World War II veteran and mechanical engineer for IBM who invented the ribbon feeding mechanism for typewriters, died Monday morning, September 9, 2013, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. Better known by family and friends simply as T.K., he was 86.

Born April 27, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was a son of Alan Yale and Frances Philbin (Kenly) Bristoll. While living in Narberth, Pennsylvania, he attended Wynewood High School. 

In October of 1944, T.K. enlisted in the United States Army and served as an airplane and engine mechanic. He received an Honorable Discharge on January 20, 1946, but the next day entered into active service in the Regular Army and continued working as a mechanic while serving in the Pacific Theater with the 371st Air Engineers. He also worked on docks as a hydraulic crew chief, later becoming assistant dock chief. On March 2, 1947, Corporal Bristoll received another Honorable Discharge from the US Army, but once again re-enlisted, this time with the Air Force of the United States. He was Honorably Discharged from the Armed Forces on March 2, 1950.

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), T.K. was employed for many years as a mechanical engineer for International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in Kingston and Poughkeepsie. During this time, he invented the ribbon feeding mechanism for typewriters. This invention, patented in 1958 (#US 2858928 A), helped revolutionize typewriters, making their operation much easier for the millions of people who utilized these once-vital business machines.  

T.K. was a man who had many and varied interests, all of which he pursued with a passion. While living along the Hudson, he received his license from the United States Coast Guard to operate or navigate motor boats carrying passengers for hire, and at one time captained a launch on the river. A licensed radio amateur (truly a misnomer, since T.K. was far from an amateur in this field) his call sign was W2TKB. At one time he served as President of the Walton Radio Association (also known as the Ham Radio Club of Walton and the Walton Amateur Radio Club) as well as the Margaretville Amateur Radio Club. He was also a model airplane enthusiast, and had a history of flying radio controlled planes during his years in Westchester County. T.K. was a true outdoorsman, and enjoyed hunting and fishing as well as photography. This love for the outdoors was imparted to many boys when he served as a Scout Leader with the Boy Scouts of America as well as through the hunter safety courses he taught while he and his family were living in Red Hook. Throughout his life he remained a steadfast member of the National Rifle Association of America.

In 1990, T.K. and his wife, Karen, began building a house on property they owned in Delaware County, and in 1998 they moved permanently from Red Hook to South Kortright where they have since made their home.

T.K. is survived by his wife of 41 years, Karen M. Bristoll, of South Kortright; three daughters, Amy Starr Blum and her husband, Henry, of Croton-on-Hudson, Bonnie Starr Bristoll of Red Hook, and Cynthia Starr Hanlon and her husband, Kevin, of Red Hook; seven grandchildren; and four great grandchildren. He is also survived by an adopted son, Kent Starr Bristoll. 

He was preceded in death by one son, Alan Starr Bristoll, who died August 28, 1998, and one brother, Thomas Bristoll.

Interment will be private in the memorial garden at Christ Church in Red Hook. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers, or call them at (607) 547-8822.