The Rev. Eugene Schipper, 76, after completing 50 years of ministry, died Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Rochester, Minn., of injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at Wayne Zion Lutheran Church in rural Monticello. A service of prayer and thanksgiving will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee. Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Aurelia. Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Goettsch Funeral Home, Anamosa.
Gene was born Jan. 25, 1941, in Le Mars, Iowa, the son of Henry and Edith Schipper. He was baptized on March 30, 1941, at St. John Evangelical Reformed Church, Le Mars. He was confirmed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee, on June 5, 1955. He graduated from Aurelia High School in 1959. He attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, during which time he farmed 120 acres and later worked as an auto mechanic to help finance his education. He graduated from Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., in 1963, with his B.A. in business administration.
Following college, Eugene worked in the industrial engineering department at Deere and Co. in Moline. In the fall of 1964, he entered the Augustana Theological Seminary.
He married Mary Lou Falbe on Aug. 14, 1965, at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Ill. From 1966 to 1967, he served his internship at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd, Minn. His final year of seminary was at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, graduating in the first class in June 1968. He was ordained on June 16, 1968, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee.
Pastor Gene accepted a call to serve the Faith-Esther Lutheran Church in America, Miltona and Parkers Prairie, Minn. In 1972, he accepted a call to Calvary-St. Luke's Lutheran Parish in Garfield and Alexandria, Minn. His third call was to serve St. Johns Lutheran Church in Madrid, Iowa, from 1977 to 1993. In December 1993, he answered a call from Wayne Zion Lutheran Church, Monticello. On Nov. 1, 2006, after serving 38 years, Pastor Gene retired from active ministry. The couple moved to Anamosa and became members of St. Paul Lutheran Church.
In retirement, Pastor Gene enjoyed supply preaching in area churches, volunteering as a spiritual care chaplain at Jones Regional Medical Center, the hobby of street rodding, attending car shows and cruising with a 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe. He also enjoyed bicycle riding, reading, gardening and lawn care. He was active in the Monticello Lions Club, and served as president from 2011 to 2012. He took an active part in the club's blood drives and also drove a leg of the cornea transport relay. Along with his wife, he enjoyed camping. An important part of his ministry was devoted to hunger, working annually with crop walks through the Church World Service and the Southeast Iowa Synod.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years; sons, Dr. Paul (Elizabeth Caswell) Schipper, Portland, Ore., and David Schipper, DeForest, Wis.; daughters, Anne Marie Peterson, Crystal Lake, Ill., and Kristen (Brian Shah) Schipper, Madison, Wis.; grandchildren, Ian Schipper, Abbie Schipper, Anya Peterson and Henry Shah; his brother, Larry (Melody) Schipper, Lamoni; and a sister, Marlene (Howard) Parrott, Garner.
Posted on Wednesday, 6 December 2017