At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With an inspiring sense of humor and an unwavering devotion to those he loved, Jack L. Kippen lived a life rich in faith and family. A man who generously lived in service of others, Jack was a wonderful father, husband, and friend. Gentle, loving, and kind, Jack was revered by many, and he will long be remembered in the hearts and lives of those he loved.
1928 continued to ride the decade’s roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. The nation celebrated the recent inventions of Penicillin, the iron lung, bubble gum, and the Yo-Yo, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s Congressional Medal of Honor and Amelia Earhartbecoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. As the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the Grand Rapids home of John and Noreen (Bragg) Kippen as they welcomed their son Jack into their family on May 8th.
Growing up on Swensburg Street in Grand Rapids during the 30s and 40s, Jack enjoyed the good company of his brother Richard, as well as the loving care of his hard-working parents. While Jack’s father worked in the tool room at Wolverine Brass Works, sharpening all of the foundry’s tools, his mother was a homemaker who also worked as a lunch lady at Creston School. Richard and Jack were pals from the start. Together, they explored the neighborhood, sports, movies, and music. The boys attended Fairmont Elementary School, graduated from Creston High school, and attended St. James Lutheran Church with their parents. The Kippen family was firmly rooted in their faith which proved a powerful foundation upon which Jack built the rest of his life.
As a youth, and throughout his life, Jack had many interests including all sports. He especially loved basketball, softball, golfing, bowling, and fishing. For many years he participated in both golf and bowling leagues. His love for the Chicago Cubs and Bears began early, as did his passion for MSU basketball. An accomplished pianist, Jack could also juggle! One of Jack’s fondest childhood memories was going to the movies with his mother.
After graduating from high school in 1946, Jack was drafted into the Army, and he faithfully served in Korea. With good fortune on his side, Jack safely returned home and found work at Wolverine Brass Works. He was also soon blessed with being introduced to Judith DeYoung by his neighbor who was Judy's best friend. The young couple dated for two years and married at St James Lutheran Church on October 8, 1955.
Following a honeymoon in Niagara Falls, Jack and Judith made their home at 1250 Northlawn in Grand Rapids. The happy couple joyfully welcomed four beautiful children into their family; Gregory, Joni, Deron, and Pamela. Jack loved his kids very much, and he always made time to play with them in the yard each night after coming home from working as a supervisor at Wolverine Brass. Jack proudly took each of the kids to their sporting events and fully supported all of their endeavors. He shared his love of reading sports books with his children and also made sure to take them on family vacations. Together, the family explored Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Tahquamenon Falls, and camped with extended family at Interlochen.
A kind, gentle, and loving man, Jack centered himself by reading the Bible each morning at breakfast and every night before bed. He was a man who embodied the values of his faith; he consciously lived each day loving unconditionally, practicing forgiveness, encouraging peace, and remaining humble. For 80 years Jack was a devoted member of St. James Lutheran Church. During these years he gladly served as a deacon, usher, trustee, and Bible studies member. Without hesitation, Jack was quick to assure the care of others, always putting their needs ahead of his own. Truly, there was no safer place than Jack’s heart.
Without a doubt, Jack’s greatest joy was found in his time spent with those he loved. Whether sharing his treasured 1952 Olds Super Rocket 88, his love for donuts, dining out at Russ’ Restaurant, cooking up Saturday morning bacon and eggs, or gathering at the table for supper, Jack’s heart’s delight was his family. He was a loving husband who had great concern for his wife’s needs, and he consciously strove to provide for her comfort. Jack also relished in being a grandfather. He loved helping care for his grandchildren and teaching them the art of well-played humor. Passing along his talents as a good-hearted jokester. He was especially proud to attend all of the kids’ sporting events. Sharing Christmas with the entire family always proved a special time for Jack. What a gift that Jack was able to draw his final breaths surrounded by his loving family.
The world feels less certain in the absence of Jack’s steadfast presence. May it afford deep comfort to know that with each moment we spend reading the Bible, indulging in chocolate, listening to Neil Diamond or cheering on the Spartans, gathering as a family, or extending our hand to someone in need, we are living the best of Jack’s legacy in our own daily lives. In this way, we will assure that Jack’s spirit will continue to inspire loving kindness and faith.
KIPPEN, Jack of Grand Rapids, MI
Age 89, passed away November 14, 2017, with his loving family at his side. His wife, Judith, of 62 years survives as do their children, Gregory (Roxane) Kippen of Grand Rapids, Joni (Salvatore) Pirrotta of Grand Haven, Deron (Kari) Kippen of Comstock Park, Pamela Eck of Comstock Park; grandchildren, Andrew & Noah Pirrotta, Branden (Liz) & Brittany Bennett, Tyler & Gabrielle Kippen, Taylor, Alexis & Rachel Eck; great-grandchildren, Tait and Reid Bennett; and brother, Richard (Eileen) Kippen of Traverse City. A funeral service will be held on Sunday, November 19 at 2 PM at St. James Lutheran Church, 2010 Oakwood Ave NE. Friends may visit with his family on Saturday from 4-6 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE, and from 1-2 on Sunday at the church. Interment will be at Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to St. James Lutheran Memorial Fund or to Faith Hospice. Please visit Jack's personal web page to read more of his life story, to leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.