TRAVERSE CITY — Harry Lipka, 77, of Traverse City, died March 25, 2014, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law in Leelanau County.
His parents, Edith (Pizzimenti) and Harry, as well as his wife of almost 50 years, Marlene (Sterchi), predeceased him.
He is survived by his daughters and their spouses, Marie Walker Livernois (Ted), Suzanne (Richard) Rubin, Cindy Lipka and Cheryl (Kent) Rice; grandchildren, Haley (Marvin) Barnes, Lee (Candace) Marvin, Lisa Walker, Laura (Scott) Barnett, Zoe Rice, Annika Rice and Meghan Rice; and great-grandchildren, Danielle Barnes, Mason Barnes, Payton Barnes, Chayson Barnes, Jackson Norgaard and Bryn Marvin.
Born in Detroit, Harry was the only child of two doting parents. He was the center of the universe to both sets of grandparents (one Italian and one German), who lived nearby, along with several aunts and uncles. He loved to draw. Growing up in “The Motor City,” he spent many hours designing futuristic-looking automobiles.
He was kind to all, with an amazing reverence for life. He wouldn’t kill even a spider, taking them outside if they were found trespassing. He loved animals and always had a dog (or two), not to mention chickens, ducks, bunnies and goats. He enjoyed his outdoor ponds filled with frogs and fish, tending them conscientiously. There was always plenty to be found at the numerous bird feeders surrounding his house.
Harry’s sense of humor is legendary. Always a practical joker he regularly spoofed friends and family. He told the best stories, and nothing was better than a good laugh. Once he traded a friend ex-lax for chocolate while they were at the movies. On the way home, the friend suddenly started running, very fast, until it became apparent that resistance was futile. After that he walked, v-e-r-y ... s-l-o-w-l-y.