Bremen woman remembered as inspiration
Suzanne Lippert died after car crash Thursday in Michigan.

South Bend Tribune
South Bend, Indiana
October 30, 2005


By ANITA MUNSON
Tribune Staff Writer

BREMEN -- The last words of a dying Bremen woman are indicative of how she led her life, her family said Saturday morning.

Suzanne Lippert, 57, of rural Bremen, told officers responding to the accident scene on M-40 Highway near Dutch Settlement Road in Marcellus Township, Mich., that she loved her Lord and loved her family.

Police said Lippert lost control of her vehicle, crossed the centerline and collided with an oncoming vehicle about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

She later died at Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo, from injuries sustained in the accident. The driver of the other vehicle, Carol Riggs, 50, of Marcellus, Mich., also was transported to Borgess, where she was in stable condition. Her passenger, Charles Riggs, 52, also of Marcellus, was treated and released at Three Rivers Hospital.

Suzanne Lippert's husband, Lawrence, and several of the couple's four children and seven grandchildren were gathered together at the family home Saturday, preparing to make funeral arrangements for the woman they said was, in more ways than one, a spirited individual.

They remember her as inspirational in her encouragement to others. She was a qualified medical assistant, or QMA, and her smile and sunny disposition were often put to good use at her job at Shady Rest Home in Plymouth, they said. She worked with mentally challenged, elderly and Alzheimer's disease patients there.

Before her employment at the Shady Rest, she worked for more than 20 years at Bremen Health Care Center, where she was director of the Alzheimer's unit. She also had been employed at Miller's Merry Manor in Wakarusa.

They said she liked to have fun, too, and wouldn't hesitate to include others in her humorous, but harmless, pranks.

"She was like the sun, there all the time for you," Lawrence Lippert said through tears Saturday.

"She was coming back from Paw Paw, Mich., from church," he said of the night of the accident.

Osceola Pentecostal Church in Paw Paw is where the Lipperts attended what they called their "home church," Lawrence said. "It gave us a lot of strength in our marriage, in our life together."

"I was so fortunate to have her," he added, smiling.

That's because when the couple first met and fell in love, it was after Lawrence threw a snowball at the pretty girl across the street from the snowball fight at Michigan State University, where he was a student.

"It was 1964," Lawrence said. "We fell in love at a snowball fight."

The couple was married Feb. 26, 1966, by a justice of the peace in Elkhart County, where Suzanne then lived and where her bridegroom-to-be worked in the local hardware store.

Lawrence remembered Suzanne "wasn't a fancy person, and didn't want any hullabaloo." After the ceremony, they called both sets of parents to tell them the news. Lawrence said Suzanne's mother wasn't crazy about the idea, and he spent the next few years proving he'd take good care of Suzanne and his prospective family, which grew to include four children and grandchildren, too. His late mother-in-law, he said, came to be -- next to Suzanne -- his best friend.

"Suzanne loved working with people," Lawrence said. "She had a way of talking to them, of convincing them to do what was best for them."

He said several callers Saturday had told stories of how Suzanne had influenced them to be more than they thought they could be.

"We had a wonderful life together," Lawrence said. "For me, it was a true love story."

Survivors in addition to her husband include three daughters, Jodi (Shawn) Fitzsimmons of Mishawaka, Ann (Steve) Weaver of South Bend and Tracey Lippert of Bremen; a son, Scott Lippert of Mishawaka; grandchildren Deacon Fitzsimmons, Derek Weaver, Brytanie, Bryleigh and Ashlee Lippert, and November and Naven Lippert; a brother, John Conley of Charlotte, N.C.; and a sister, Leslie Hughes of Hattiesburg, Miss.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Norma (LaBelle) Conley, and a brother, Larry Conley.

Memorial services will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bremen Pentecostal of Act 4:12 Church, Bremen, with the Revs. John Bollinger and Bill Chapman officiating. The family will receive callers one hour prior to the service Tuesday at the church. Mishler Funeral Home, Bremen, is in charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be sent to the Alzheimer's Association.

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Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Friday, October 28, 2005
Indiana woman dies in Cass crash

A Bremen, Ind., woman was killed Thursday night in a two-car, head-on accident in Cass County, authorities said.

Suzanne Lippert, 57, was southbound on M-40 in Marcellus Township about 9:30 p.m. when she lost control of her vehicle, crossed the centerline and collided with a northbound vehicle, according to the Cass County Sheriff's Office.

Lippert was airlifted to Borgess Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.

The driver of the northbound vehicle, identified by police as 50-year-old Carol Riggs of Marcellus, also was taken to Borgess after the accident. She was listed in serious condition this morning, hospital officials said.

A passenger in Carol Riggs' vehicle, identified as 52-year-old Charles Riggs of Marcellus, was treated at Three Rivers Area Hospital and released.

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South Bend Tribune
South Bend, Indiana
October 30, 2005

Suzanne L. Lippert
Dec. 7, 1947 -- Oct. 27, 2005

Suzanne LaBelle "Sue" Lippert, 57, of First Road, died at 11:05 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, in Borgess Medical Center, Kalamazoo, Mich., as a result of injuries sustained in an auto accident.

She was born Dec. 7, 1947, in Elkhart, Ind., to the late Ray and Norma (LaBelle) Conley. She was also preceded in death by a brother, Larry Conley.

She lived in Bremen for the past 28 years, coming from Elkhart. She was a Q.M.A., most recently working for Shady Rest in Plymouth, Indiana. She worked for 20+ years for the Bremen Health Care Center, where she was certified as a Q.M.A., and was the director of the Alzheimer's unit. She also worked for a period of time for Miller's Merry Manor, Wakarusa. She was a graduate of Elkhart Memorial High School and received her Q.M.A. certification from the Bremen Health Care Center. She was blessed into the Osceola United Pentecostal Church where she acted as song leader, Sunday school teacher and also worked as a youth group leader. She was a former member of the Bremen Pentecostal of Act 4:12 Church, and most recently began attending Full Gospel Church in Paw Paw, Michigan.

On Feb. 26, 1966, she married Lawrence J. Lippert, who survives. Also surviving are three daughters, Jodi (Shawn) Fitzsimmons of Mishawaka, Ind., Ann (Steve) Weaver of South Bend and Tracey Lippert of Bremen; a son, Scott Lippert of Mishawaka; grandchildren, Deacon Fitzsimmons, Derek Weaver, Brytanie, Bryleigh and Ashlee Lippert, November and Naven Lippert; a brother, John Conley of Charlotte, N.C.; and a sister, Leslie Hughes of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Memorial services will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, in Bremen Pentecostal of Act 4:12 Church in Bremen, with Rev. John Bollinger and Rev. Bill Chapman officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the memorial services on Tuesday in the church.

Sue was a very compassionate person who enjoyed working with the residents at her places of work. She often commented that the residents gave so much more to her than she gave to them. She was very interested in working with Alzheimer's patients, as she worked as the director of the Alzheimer's units at the nursing homes she worked at. Her final words to the police officer that was comforting Sue at the scene of the accident was that "She loved God and she loved Her family." Her final words were a testimony to her "Motto" in life, which was, "Make the Best of Everything in Life, because God will get you thru it." She always made life fun, no matter the circumstances and always had a smile. She will be dearly missed by her family and all who knew her.

Memorials may be made to The Alzheimer's Association.

Mishler Funeral Home in Bremen is assisting the family with arrangements.


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