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John E. "Jack" Ripp

August 16, 1928 July 20, 2019
John E. "Jack"  Ripp
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Obituary for John E. "Jack" Ripp

MADISON - John E. “Jack” Ripp, age 90, of Madison, passed away on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at Agrace HospiceCare. He was born on Aug. 16, 1928, in Madison, the son of John and Irene (Blum) Ripp.

Jack graduated from East High School in 1946. He married June Lawrence on July 14, 1956, at St. Mary’s of the Lake Catholic Church. Jack served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. His trade was a carpenter-cabinet maker at the family business, Ripp Kitchen Center.

Jack is survived by four daughters, Kathryn A. (Joseph Dieter) Ripp, Therese (Joseph Johnson) Schroeder, Marie (Dennis) Kelly and Meg Robertson; three sons, Michael (Courtney) Ripp, Paul (Michelle) Ripp and James Ripp; his sister, Judi (John) Esch; and sister-in-law, Beverly Ripp. He is also survived by 26 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, John Anton Ripp; mother, Irene Theresa Ripp; sister, Mary (Fred) Sauer; and brother, Robert Ripp.

How do you sum up your Dad's 90 years of life in a single obituary? You don't…It's Impossible, but I'll give you a taste.

After a week-long stay in the cold unfamiliar surroundings of a hospital as a result of a heart attack, Dad sat down in his warm comfy recliner chair as he had many times in the past. With the help of my care providing sisters, turned on some Herb Alpert music and cracked open an ice-cold A&W root beer to celebrate "Ah...root beer never tasted so good" he said. We as a family knew he was in the right place. Home. Dad and my sister decided right then and there that the A&W stood for Alive & Well. As it turned out, things changed quickly and just one week later, at Dad’s request, it was a trip to Agrace HospiceCare and on to the final chapter of his life.

As I sat in the beautiful space at Agrace, I held my Dad's hands in his last full day here on this earth and I began to think... 'as a child, Dad's hands were the biggest strongest hands I knew. All these years I thought his hands were still bigger than mine.... They weren't. Why did it take me this long to notice that?' I held his hand up palm to palm with mine. Felt its warmth and gentleness and compared it to mine. I wondered further into my mind of all the things my Dad had accomplished with these very hands in his 90+ years.

I thought... These hands held Mom's hands as they walked down the aisle. These very same hands I was holding through his last hours of life once held each one of us seven kids so tenderly in our very first hours of life. Cradled us, bounced us on his knee, and kept us from falling when learning to walk. Swung us between his legs and pretended to almost drop us leaving us short of breath from giggling. Hands that spent long days building beautiful kitchen cabinets to raise three boys and four girls in a four-bedroom, one-bath house on the east side of Madison. Hands that even took on a foster child during that difficult time. Hands that cared for everyone, held the door for everyone, no matter who you were.

Hands of a gentle man whose passion were his kids, grandkids, musky fishing and ice boating. He built numerous iceboats through the years for himself and others and touched so many other sailor’s lives. He won so many races we lost count. He was a world champion, a leader, a friend, a mentor and role model. He caught many lunker Muskies as well and always took time to pause and breathe in the beauty of Northern Wisconsin where he spent his retirement years.

These hands taught several of us to fish and sail and build things we never thought we could. Hands that manned the grill at every cookout, guided us to our careers of music, healthcare, nursing, counseling, engineering, teaching and saving lives. He taught us to have strong values, a gentle demeanor and a steadfast faith. Hands that helped so many others in so many ways. Hands that taught our hands and other hands to do the same.

His were hands we all should strive to use in the same manner. From following your passion, and holding the sheet rope through strong winds, winning numerous championship iceboat races, to tenderly cradling grandchildren, building them wooden toys or simply waving to your neighbor. Everything positive, humble and kind in between.

I continued to ponder.... 'My hands may be bigger than his...however I will never fill his shoes'... The tears began to flow... ' he taught me by leading.... I certainly won't stop trying to fill them.'

Our time here is fleeting. Make it worth it. Touch lives with enough passion that it causes those you've touched to do the same for others and continues to spread and heal this crazy world. That was Dad's goal.

Take the time to hold your father’s hands and thank him. Have a root beer with your dad, if he is still with you, and celebrate that he is Alive & Well.

We love you Dad.

Flowers and life are fleeting. Please, instead of flowers, memorials may be made in Jack's honor to Agrace HospiceCare, 5395 E. Cheryl Pkwy, Fitchburg, WI 53711.
They are the extra hands you and your loved ones may need.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. BERNARD CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2450 Atwood Ave., Madison, at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 25, 2019, with Fr. Michael Radowicz presiding. Burial with military honors will be held at Resurrection Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the church from 8:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Thursday. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420

Previous Events





8:30 AM 7/25/2019 8:30:00 AM - 10:30 AM 7/25/2019 10:30:00 AM
St. Bernard Parish

2450 Atwood Ave.
Madison , WI 53704

St. Bernard Parish
2450 Atwood Ave. Madison 53704 WI
United States

Mass of Christian Burial




10:30 AM 7/25/2019 10:30:00 AM - 11:30 AM 7/25/2019 11:30:00 AM
St. Bernard Parish

2450 Atwood Ave.
Madison , WI 53704

with Fr. Michael Radowicz presiding.

St. Bernard Parish
2450 Atwood Ave. Madison 53704 WI
United States

Memorial Contribution

Agrace HospiceCare

5395 E. Cheryl Parkway
Fitchburg, WI 53711

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