January 30, 1918 – May 22, 2018

Mary Frances McGrew Lipper was born in Milton, Kansas on January 30, 1918.  She was the first child of William Pendleton and Ruby Maleta Marguerite McGrew. Mary Frances grew up in a small farming community, Alden, Kansas.  As the eldest of 5 children, she assisted her father in running the local hardware and farm implement store while attending high school and college.  Her responsibilities included delivering lumber and dynamite, picking up the daily newspaper from the neighboring town, and balancing the books for the store late at night.  College days at Sterling College, where she majored in English and drama, were long.  She rehearsed for major roles in the college plays and had an active social life in addition to her studies and working at the store.  Upon graduation from college, she left home and taught English and drama in high schools in Hoxie and Pratt, Kansas.

Ralph Lipper, who had delivered milk from his family dairy to her door, proposed marriage when he was home on leave from his duty with the 44th Bomb Group in England.  Letters written by Ralph were found after his death, which described his long, secretly-held infatuation with lovely and vivacious Mary.  He was a shy guy and never had the courage to approach her in a romantic way. Mary accepted his proposal and they were married three days later in the family living room.  The president of Sterling College officiated and they toasted with tomato juice. 
When Ralph was released from military service, they moved in with Ralph's parents on their diary farm, where their first child, Kate, was born.  Ralph enrolled in graduate school at Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas where they purchased a small home and where Fred, the second child, was born.  Mary returned to teaching when Kate entered 1st grade.  She taught 4th and 5th grade for many years and was president of the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma.

As her husband's health was failing, Mary decided they should move to Portland to be near their two children.  Ralph died 10 days after their arrival and Mary bravely began a new life, as family matriarch and playful grandmother to her four grandchildren. 

She met Carl Sandoz, who introduced her to canoeing, camping, hiking, and hot springs while in her 70's.  After years of worrying about her husband's health, she threw away her cares with Carl and became more adventuresome.  After Carl's death she moved to Holladay Park Plaza in 2001, where she lived within a mile of each of her children.  She continued her interests in singing, theatre, photography, and gardening.

On January 30, 2018 Mary's family celebrated with her on her 100th birthday.



She is survived by one sister, Linda Nichols of McPherson, Kansas, her children and their spouses, Fred Lipper and Karen Pierce and Kate Thompson and Bill Scott, her grandchildren, Gabriel Lipper, Chad Bristol, Wilfred Thompson and Julia Thompson, and three great grandchildren, Zinnia Wagner, Ruby Wagner and Iris Lipper.

A memorial celebration of life was held on June 27, 2018 at:
Holladay Park Plaza
1300 NE 16th Ave
Portland OR 97232

Remembrances in honor of Mary may be made to the Holladay Park Plaza Employee Scholarship Fund.  Mary served on the candidate selection committee and was delighted to help those who cared for her advance their education.