Rene Peter Lippens, age 90, of 7933 N.25 Lane in Gladstone, passed away Wednesday morning, September 19, 2018 at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette. He was born on January 24, 1928 in Orlando, FL. He was the third of fourteen children (seven boys and seven girls) born to Adolph and Sibilia (LaFault) Lippens. Rene grew up in the St. Nicholas area in Delta County where he attended school through the ninth grade. He later earned his GED while serving in the military.
Rene was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1951 and underwent his basic training at Fort Hood, TX. In January of 1952, he was stationed in Japan where he received heavy equipment training at the Japanese Naval Academy. During a thirteen-month tour in Korea, Rene was assigned to making roads for ground troops during the Korean War. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant while serving two years in the Combat Engineer Unit of the 7th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. While serving during wartime, Rene earned the Bronze Star for constructing a road on “Hill 10-62” that was previously deemed impossible to make. He was also awarded the National Defense Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Korean Service Medal. Rene also earned the United Nations Medal including three battle stars for serving in the Heartbreak Ridge Sector, the Triangle Sector, and the Old Baldy Sector – all located north of the 38th Parallel in Korea. In recent years, the Korean government awarded him the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Medal.
After his service in the Korean War, Rene returned to the states recalled he was among 3,200 who received a rose and coffee or hot chocolate from the Salvation Army which was there to greet them in Washington State. Rene returned to his home base in Japan and later went back to his home in St. Nicholas. He returned to his previous job, working in maintenance for Harnischfeger Corporation in Escanaba. He attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette where he enrolled in classes, majoring in business administration for two and a half years. After working as a Prudential Life Insurance agent for a few years, he was employed for various construction companies including VanEss Construction Company, installing residential gas services. He retired at the age of 64.
Rene was active in the community, serving on several military-related organizations. He was named the U.P Veteran of the Year in 2005. He was a life member and service officer for the Hannahville American Legion Post #116, a life member and service officer for the Escanaba AmVets Post #123, life member and sergeant of arms for the Escanaba Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2998, and a life member and honors squad commander of the Disabled American Veterans of Escanaba. Rene was a member of the Escanaba American Legion Post #81 and the 40 & 8 in Carney. He was an associate member of the Marine Corps League of the U.P. He was the commander of the Delta County Veterans Council and was a member of the council’s honor squad. Rene was instrumental in created the U.P. Veteran of the Year program and was committee chairman. He also assisted in obtained Hannahville 2 Percent Grants for area veterans’ organizations and Escanaba Township. Rene was a member of the Escanaba Township Planning Commission and the Escanaba Township Zoning Board of Appeals. He was also a member of the Delta County Department of Public Works organization and was active in the Delta County Democratic Party for many years. He was proud to have gone on the U.P. Honor Flight Mission VI in May 2014, which was the first mission flight to include Korean War vets. Rene dedicated his entire life to serving his country and his local community.
Rene Peter Lippens is survived by three children, twins, Paul Lippens of GA and Pauline Nedeau of Gladstone, and his youngest daughter, Peg Lippens of Gladstone; 6 grandchildren, Paul (Amy)Lippens, Christa (Paul) McCarty, Karla (Shawn) Brandt, Chad (Natallie) Nedeau, Kory (Larissa) Wils, and Kaelyn Wils; 11 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; siblings, Albert (Judy) Lippens of Hyde, Joseph (Joyce) Lippens of Schaffer, Adolph, Jr. (Phyllis) Lippens of Flat Rock, John (Laurie) Lippens of Escanaba, Mary Geniesse of Menominee, Irene Barron of Flat Rock, Germain (Dwayne) Taylor of Flat Rock, Bernice (Richard) Caron of Ford River, Rita (Russell) Taylor of Bay View, and Barbara (Gary) Sheedlo of Flat Rock; as well as many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Philemon and Bennie Lippens; sister, Alice Solis; three nieces; one nephew; and one grandniece.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, September 23, 2018 at the Anderson Funeral Home in Gladstone. The Michigan Patriot Guard will stand guard during Rene’s visitation. Liturgical prayers will be recited at 3:30 p.m., Sunday. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2:00 p.m., Monday, September 24, 2018 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Flat Rock with Father Allen Mott officiating. Rene’s casket will be escorted by the Michigan Patriot Guard to Fernwood Cemetery in Gladstone. Graveside Military Honors will be conducted by the Delta County Veterans Council. They will be assisted by the Michigan United States Army National Guard and the AmVets Post #123 Firing Squad. A luncheon will be served after the burial in the Holy Family Catholic Church Fellowship Hall in Flat Rock. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials please be directed to the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight.
Upper Peninsula Honor Flight
7480 J Road, Gladstone MI 49837