Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Curtis Lipke - RIP

Clarence alumnus ('72) Curtis Lipke passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. We had not been able to locate him, but I'm sure we would have sent notes had we known. Rest in peace, Curt...

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

  • "my deepest sympathies....its very sad and sobering when..."

Curtis Wesley Lipke
Curtis Wesley Lipke, 58, of Salt Lake City, Utah, passed away August 3, 2012 in his home surrounded by family and friends, after a heroic battle with pancreatic cancer that lasted three years and eight months. During that time, he not only found ways to have a wonderful quality of life, but also was an inspiration to everyone he encountered. His strength of mind, body and spirit carried him through his battle.

Curt was born July 6, 1954, and raised in Buffalo, New York, in a family of four brothers and one sister, with loving caring parents, Dr. Ken and Patricia Lipke, who taught them principled values and a strong work ethic. Curt graduated from Clarence Central High School. 

An avid competitor and extreme athlete most of his life, Curt realized in his early teens that he had a tremendous passion for skiing. He quickly perfected those skills and became a ski instructor at Bluemont Ski Area outside of Buffalo. It was only fitting that skiing should play a major role in his decision about college, which took him to the University of Utah amidst some of the best skiing in the country. 

Curt's love for skiing and his fondness for Utah made it difficult to return to Buffalo after graduation in business studies at the University of Utah, but he went back and joined his family business, then called Gibraltar Steel Corporation. He applied himself diligently to his career and worked his way to become divisional president. The company was publicly traded in 1983 and Curt was elected to the Board of Directors.

His love of skiing and Utah were always on his mind and, receiving some good advice from his mother, he decided to follow his dream and return to Salt Lake City.

Curt was always very athletic and competitive, and in addition to skiing and ski racing, he thrived on endurance sports, competing in triathlons and taking second place in the World Seniors Games. His passions also included mountain bike races, road races and foot races. He spent many years enjoying the outdoors and participating in everything from riding his Harley to jumping doubles on his motor cross bike. He is a graduate of the Skip Barber and Spring Mountain Race Car Driving Schools.
Many marveled at his ability to continue competing and winning events during his battle with cancer. One of his many mottos was, "Pain is just weakness leaving the body."

Doctors at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital, where he received treatments, often called on Curt to speak with other patients. He was able to provide support and guidance and to demonstrate that, yes, you can have a high quality of life even while battling cancer. He took great pride in helping other patients.

Curt is survived by his beloved wife, Linda Mulkey, his mother, Patricia Lipke, brothers Neil (Shannon), Eric (Janine), Brian (Debbie) and sister Meredith, nieces Carlisle, Katie, Elissa and Erica, nephew Kenneth, and canine kids Sally and Alvin. Curt was predeceased by his father, Dr. Ken Lipke, and his stepdaughter Lauren Elizabeth Mulkey.

Curt and Linda were two angels, drawn together to help each other survive some of the greatest challenges life can bring us, including the sudden death of Linda's daughter Lauren and Curt's journey with cancer. Together they enjoyed life to the fullest with their dogs, skiing, trips to Las Vegas, and sharing their lives with so many friends.

Lauren absolutely adored Curt, as did all of her friends. They have stayed in Curt and Linda's life and remained close throughout Curt's illness.

The family wishes to extend tremendous thanks to all of the dedicated doctors and staff at the Huntsman Cancer Center and the huge outpouring of care, concern and love from their friends.
Curt knew what it took to be a friend, and because of that, he had many. He will be forever in our hearts.

A memorial service to celebrate Curt's life will be held at 11:30 am on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, in the Courage Theatre, Jewett Center, at Westminster College, 1840 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City. Curt requested that everyone who attends, please wear bright-colored or Hawaiian shirts.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Huntsman Cancer Institute or Intermountain Therapy Animals. Online condolences may be sent at www.larkinmortuary.com.

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