The Eulogy of Frederick Lipkie
By Stephen Lipkie and Michael Allen Hempen
|The Mother (Pat), Steve, The Father|
(Fred), Trish, and Sue
The word “The” is described in the dictionary as “A definite article used before a noun denoting somebody that is understood by the speaker as distinct from “A’ or “an”” The Lipkie family has taken that word and made it their own and nowhere is it’s use more clear and distinct than when used to describe, not A family member, such as a sister or a brother…but THE family members, like The Mother, The Grandmother, and of course…The Father.
Fred Lipkie, or “The Father”, had a rough road recently. But he was used to taking punishment even before he met The Wife and was blessed with The Children. Steve told me that when the Father was young he would go out with his the brother George and their friends while his the Mother would lay awake waiting for them to return. When they would finally stagger home, George would purposely volunteer to go in first so he could duck…allowing Fred to take a “welcome home” shoe to the face.
Fred’s co-workers at Chicago Metallic often told the family what a loyal, hard-working employee he was, but the Father was always a family man first—putting his children and wife before work. He always stood behind his kid’s dreams and aspirations, never pushing them into something they didn’t want to do and always encouraging them to become productive and positive members of society. He once suggested to Steve that he take up drafting as a college major. Steve went on to take classes in the subject and coupled with the love of nature that the Father instilled in him, he went on to become a Landscape Architect.
With these types of actions, the Father served as a teacher—leading by example and providing subtle direction in life: of learning how to catch a fish, play baseball, and root for the White Sox and whomever the Cubs played that day!!! (Apparently they’re still in 1st place, Fred!!!)
As for the household, one of the more frequently overheard comments to the Mother was: “How many times do I have to tell you to buy me a shirt with a pocket!!!” The Mother would always say about the Father, “The Germans are hard to get going, but they’re also hard to stop once they realize they’re having a good time.” And that was always true with Fred to the end. The Father could be heard to say recently that these weren’t the golden years that he was promised, to which a friend of his said “That’s because you stopped drinking”
The Father was always smarter than the kids thought and when they were “know-it-all-teenagers,” they would throw house parties while the parents were away. After laboriously cleaning up the mess that many of us in this room made, they would find out weeks later that the Father knew about the party all along…but he never said anything because he liked having a spotless house when he came home from his trip.
More than anything the Father was a gentle man. When it comes to child-rearing, parents say “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” But it was especially true with the Father. Regardless of how much the family provoked him, he would never lay a hand on them. And as with most men of his time, Fred was not one to express his emotions. In fact, that’s why he identified with the strong, silent characters in Westerns, like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. Steve mentioned recently that the Mother wasn’t always aware of just how much Fred cared for her. But he did—always. That was his style—understated but sincere.
“The Father” left behind a legacy of family values that every father should aspire to. Fred was a patient man, a devoted father, and a loving grandfather. So many of us go through life seeking approval and love, but Fred gave them both to his family without them having to search it out. His lack of hesitation in giving all of himself over to his children was the source of which that same support was returned to him a thousand fold by the people who dominated his thoughts daily; Trish, Steve, Sue, their husbands, wives, sons and daughters. Fred’s wife Pat and matriarch of the Lipkie family walked with him through the greatest part of his life and led him by the hand on his journey through inspiring family devotion. It’s Fred’s devotion to the lives he touched that is the legacy he now leaves behind. I’m proud to have known Fred, and I’m proud to know his family. Just being in their presence has made me a better man and in that way Fred has touched all of us…and will live on in our memories and in the actions we take to reach the summits of love that he so effortlessly gave to his everyone around him. This is not the end for Fred…this is the beginning because I know that his name will be on the lips of all the Lipkies’ to come as it has been in the hearts of all the Lipkies there are. Thank you Fred, for letting me into your family, for opening the door in your heart, for leaving behind the legacy of your children…who I’m proud to call MY family.
Steve Lipkie is now the patriarch of the Lipkie Family and where some may see that as a burden, I know Steve will embrace this responsibility with the dignity, honor, and pride with which Fred did. Steve has held many titles in the family: The son, the brother, the cousin, the nephew, and the uncle. And although there can never be a replacement for Fred, he’s smiling down on his family knowing that they’re in good hands as Steve goes from being A father…to being The Father. And thus the legacy of Frederick Lipkie carries on.
Summing up his life, Steve was reminded of the familiar Bible verse from the Corinthians so common in weddings, although not usually at funerals. He asked me to read it to you now…but with a slight twist:
The Father was patient, The Father was kind. He did not envy, he did not boast, he was not proud. He was not rude, he was not self-seeking, he was not easily angered, he kept no record of wrongs. The Father did not delight in evil but rejoiced with the truth. He always protected, always trusted, always hoped, always persevered.
The Father was Love…IS Love…and That Love will persevere.