LaVerne Mae Ripley, 88, formerly of Pulaski and Krakow, died peacefully Saturday morning, March 14, 2020, at New Perspective in Howard, where she lived with Emil, her husband of 69 years.
The daughter of Leah (Jacobosky) and Walter Ullman was born December 6, 1931, in the Town of Casco, one of nine children raised on a farm, where she loved working in the barn at her father’s side. She was a crackerjack student and speller through high school — passions she carried with her the rest of her life — and graduated from Casco High as class salutatorian. On October 4, 1950, she married Emil Ripley and devoted herself to supporting his teaching career in the Pulaski School District. Together, Emil, LaVerne and their nine children built a lasting legacy in the community.
Her children all towered over her in height, and went on to successful careers as entrepreneurs, business leaders, and managers. LaVerne provided an unwavering family center and sense of home, always filled with hugs, laughter and good food. Over the years, she juggled the roles of homemaker, baker, co-owner of Ripley’s Aquarium, World Book Encyclopedia saleswoman, radio talk show host, bank teller and tax preparer — making all seem effortless and joyful. She was active in the Council of Catholic Women at Assumption B.V.M. Church in Pulaski and was a faith-filled, devout member of St. Casimir Parish in Krakow. She loved to sing and hum, and in 1996, with Father Ed, co-founded the Resurrection Choir, wanting bereaved families to be comforted by song.
After God, Emil and her family, geography was LaVerne’s greatest love. Once retired, Emil and LaVerne traveled the world, including favorite trips to the Holy Land, Africa, the Amazon, and Japan.
LaVerne is survived by her husband Emil, and their children Russ (Michele), Rebecca (Ted Ringger), Rob (Eileen), Ron (Doreen), Renee (Randy Grygiel), Rick (Cathy), Rod, Rock (Michele), and Roger (Jeni). She is further survived by 17 grandchildren: Wess, Justin, Ron, Brandon, Jerad, Jamie (Bratz), Amanda (Gates), Sean, Andy (Kolinski), Kyle, Jeremy, Zach, Kevin, Hailie (Rivera), Jake (Kolinski), Sydney and Madison; three step-grandchildren: Eric Timm and Forrest and Mason Grygiel; and 15 great-grandchildren: Jordan, Jackson, Jonas, Tyler, Emilia, Dawson, Asher, Eve, Cora, Lucy, Stella, Nola, Tilly, Sadie and Joseph; sisters Vi Smithwick, Carol (and Aaron) Naze, Bonnie Luedtke, Darlene Stoller; brothers Gale (and Rita) and Randy; sister-in-law Myrtle Ripley and many loving nieces, nephews and friends.
LaVerne was preceded in death by her parents Walter and Leah Ullman, her in-laws, Emil and Anna Ripley, her brother Bob Ullman and his wife Collette, her sister Diane Shinnick, sisters-in-law and their husbands Mary Jane (John) Gigot, Annamae (Eddie) Jeanquart, Gerry (Mel) Fameree, Audrey (Roger) Gustke and brothers-in-law Bob Ripley, Richard Smithwick, Leonard Luedtke and Joe Stoller.
Due to the restrictions from the Covid-19 National Health Emergency, a private Funeral Mass was held Friday, March 20th at St. Casimir Church in Krakow, Fr. Patrick Gawrylewski, O.F.M. presiding, Fr. James Esser, O.F.M. concelebrating, and LaVerne’s grandson, Dcn. Kevin Ripley assisting. Burial took place in the parish cemetery.
The family would like to thank the staff at New Perspective and Unity Hospice for their loving support and care.