Our cherished father, Ronald Carol Lipka, 88, passed away on February 7, 2023. He was born to Oscar and Norma Lipka with a trumpet in his hand on August 18, 1934 in Cincinnati, OH. After graduating from Hughes HS, Ron served with the US Army 30th Field Band in Germany. He then attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, earning his bachelor's in music education in 1958. There he met and married the only love of his life, Sandra Jean Bernat, a marriage that lasted nearly 65 years, until her death in May 2022. He went on to receive a Master's of Music Education from the University of New Mexico. A music educator for over 60 years, Ron taught award-winning marching, concert and jazz bands at Pueblo Junior HS, Rio Grande HS and Eldorado HS, and NM Highlands University, finishing his career as Chairman of the Fine Arts Dept. at William Penn College in Oskaloosa, IA. An accomplished performer, Ron was a member of the New Mexico Symphony trumpet section for 19 years. In 1984, he received the Albuquerque Tribune "Distinguished Teacher" award. He also prioritized service, volunteering with the Musician's Union Local, the NM Music Educators Association, the Rio Grande Jazz Society, the Music Educator's National Conference, and the National Association of Jazz Educators. Upon retiring in Albuquerque, Ron continued to share his knowledge - mentoring local music teachers for ten years, conducting the New Horizons Band of Rio Rancho, the Albuquerque Concert Band. and the NM Jazz Workshop Adult Jazz Band; judging band competitions, writing articles and reviews for the Journal of the International Trumpet Guild, and serving as a guest clinician. Ron still practiced every day and performed well into his 87th year. He positively impacted thousands of students over his career, and received thanks and well wishes from former students all over the country throughout his life. He was an avid fly fisherman in the mountain streams of NM. When there was time, Ron and Sandra traveled the world looking for adventures, visiting China, Egypt, Italy, Greece, Russia, Moorea, and New Zealand.
Ron is survived by his sisters, Roberta Watson and Paula Mason of Cincinnati, OH, son Tracey Lipka of Albuquerque; daughter Jori Smith and her husband Lee Smith of Albuquerque, granddaughters Elizabeth Johnson (and great-grandson, Lincoln) of Minneapolis, MN, Taren Smith of NY, NY and Olivia Smith of Austin, TX.
In memory of Ron, a joint concert by the Albuquerque Concert Band and the New Horizons Community Band on Sunday, April 2nd at 2:30pm will be followed by a memorial service at 4:15pm, at the Eldorado HS Performing Arts Center, 11300 Montgomery Blvd NE. Reception following. All friends and colleagues are invited to attend.