Reverend Eugene Schipper, 76, formerly of Aurelia, Iowa, after completing 50 years of ministry, died Saturday, December 2, 2017 in Rochester, Minnesota, of injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 8, 2017 at Wayne Zion Lutheran Church in rural Monticello, Iowa. A Service of Prayer and Thanksgiving will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, December 8, 2017 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee, Iowa. Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Aurelia, Iowa. Friends may call from 5 to 8 pm on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at the Goettsch Funeral Home, Anamosa, IA.
Gene was born January 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 and he was confirmed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee, Iowa on June 5, 1955. He graduated from Aurelia High School in 1959, then attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, during which time he also farmed 120 acres. He ater worked as an auto mechanic to help finance his education, and graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ilinois in 1963 with his BA in business administration.
Following college, Eugene worked in the Industrial Engineering Dept at Deere and Company in Moline, Illinois. In the fall of 1964 he entered the Augustana Theological Seminary.
Gene married Mary Lou Falbe on August 14, 1965 at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Illinois. From 1966 to 1967, he served his internship at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd, Minnesota. His final year of seminary was at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago Illinois, from where he graduated 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, Minnesota, and in 1972 he accepted a call to Calvary-St. Luke’s Lutheran parish in Garfield and Alexandria, Minnesota. His third call was to serve St. John’ Lutheran Church in Madrid, Iowa, where he served from 1977 to 1993. In December of 1993 he answered a call from Wayne Zion Lutheran Church in Monticello, Iowa, and on November 1, 2006, after serving 38 years, Pastor Gene retired from active ministry. The couple moved to Anamosa, Iowa 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,. He also enjoyed the hobby of street-rodding, attending car shows and cruising with a 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe, and also enjoyed bicycle riding, reading, gardening, and lawn care.
Gene 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 also njoyed 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.
Gene is survived by his wife of 52 years; sons Dr. Paul (Elizabeth Caswell) Schipper of Portland, Oregon and David Schipper of DeForest, Wisconsin;, daughters Anne Marie Peterson of Crystal Lake, Illinois and Kristen (Brian Shah) Schipper of Madison, WIisconsin; grandchildren Ian Schipper, Abbie Schipper, Anya Peterson and Henry Shah; one brother, Larry (Melody) Schipper of Lamoni, Iowa and one sister, Marlene (Howard) Parrott, of Garner, Iowa.