Belle Marks Lipsky, 96, of Cedar Rapids, and Sanibel/Fort Myers, Fla., died Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Fort Myers following a short illness. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Temple Judah followed by a celebration of Belle's life at approximately 4 p.m.
She is survived by her daughter, Susan Lipsky Snyder of Franklin, Tenn.; two grandchildren, Kenneth Snyder of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Catherine Snyder of Dublin, Ireland; a sister, Dorothy Vogel of San Mateo Calif.; and by many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Norman G. Lipsky; and sister, Emily Skolnick.
Belle was born Oct. 8, 1921, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Moses and Sadie Marks. Her paternal grandfather, Reuben Marks, founded Marks Manufacturing Co. in Des Moines. Her maternal grandfather was Henry Smulekoff, an immigrant from Russia who founded Smulekoff's Furniture and was an active member of the Cedar Rapids community.
Belle graduated from Roosevelt High School, Des Moines, in 1939, and studied social work at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. She joined the Great American Red Cross, as she referred to it, and worked as a social worker in Chicago during World War II. She married Norman Lipsky of Chicago on June 18, 1946. They moved to Cedar Rapids, where Norman purchased Cartwright's Drapery and Floor Covering and later became a Realtor associated with the Hedges Co. until retiring in 1980. Their daughter Susan was born in 1956.
Belle was a devoted mother and cheerleader for her daughter, supporting her in many activities over the years. She recalled one of her fondest memories was of helping Susan braid her horse's mane and tail in preparation for horse shows in Eastern Iowa. Belle was just as devoted a grandmother to Kenneth and Catherine as she was a mother to Susan. From taking them on overseas trips, to hosting them in Cedar Rapids and Sanibel, Belle enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. She loved Kenneth and Cate immensely, and her actions were indicative of that love.
Belle was an involved and dedicated community worker, serving on numerous boards and in many organizations. She gave selflessly of her time and energy. She continued to serve the American Red Cross following World War II, and was instrumental in the founding of the Linn County Mental Health Association. She also served on the board of St. Luke's Hospital for several years, as well as the Cedar Rapids Hospital Council.
She was a generous supporter of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. She also supported and volunteered with children's theater in Cedar Rapids as well as the Camp Fire Girls. She supported the Southern Poverty Law Center, United Way of Sanibel/Captiva and Habitat for Humanity. In fact, she tried to volunteer with Habitat in her early 90s but was turned down because of her age and health status. She was most disappointed.
Belle was a member of Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids and was active in many Jewish causes, including the Jewish National Fund, Hadassah and Temple Sisterhood. After moving to Florida, she and Norman joined Congregation Bat Yam in Sanibel.
Belle loved to travel with her husband and daughter and by the end of her life had visited most of the Earth's continents. She often traveled with friends and family including her cousin, Joan, and brother-in-law, Abbott Lipsky. She was an avid golfer and belonged to the Cedar Rapids Country Club as well as the Beachview Country Club in Sanibel. She was a competitive bridge player and, in fact, played bridge up until two months before she died.
Belle will be remembered for her warmth, and for her love of people and of life. She will be missed and honored by those she left behind. She truly was the Belle of the Ball.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Red Cross, to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, to Temple Judah or to the charity of your choice.