In Memory of

George

A.

Ripsom

Sr.

Obituary for George A. Ripsom Sr.

George A. Ripsom, Sr, 90, a resident of Chelmsford, MA for 60 years, departed this Life on April 13, 2024, following an extended illness. George was a humble man, who never called attention to his many achievements. He was genuinely devoted to serving God, his Country, and the community of Chelmsford, where he shared a home with his beloved wife, Elizabeth “Betty” (Postupack) Ripsom until her passing on Oct 25, 2023. Colleagues, friends and neighbors are invited to join George’s family in celebrating his life and legacy, the highlights of which follow, with this disclaimer:

“To be remembered for his Smile and Wit, George wrote no lines for his Obit.
Words written here are not his own, but flow with love from hearts at home.”
Born in Alton, Il on 01 Dec 1933, George grew up in the Texas Gulf Coast and attended St. Mary’s University in LaPorte for 3 years, before enlisting in the US Navy. Assigned to Fire Control (FC) “A” school in Washington DC, in July 1953, he captured the attention of Betty Postupack at a church get together. The pretty administrative assistant to 3 Navy Captains was 15” shorter than George’s lanky 6’ 3”. Vowing that he, too, would be a Captain one day, he married the girl from Weatherly, PA on 08 May 54 at the Ukrainian Catholic Church where she and her large family were members.

There followed deployments from Newport, RI to Korea as an FC aboard USS Caperton (DD650), and throughout Europe and the Mediterranean as repair team leader aboard USS Yosemite (AD19). George was recently remembered by one of his Caperton shipmates as “one of the best supervisors I ever had.” In 1957, George entered the Naval Reserve. Receiving a BSEE from Penn State in 1960, he was commissioned Ensign (Engineering Duty). After earning an MSEE from Penn, he served various assignments in Lawrence, MA, at Ship Activation, Maintenance and Repair Division, Boston, at First Naval District Fleet Ship Support Project, and at NAVELEX HQ. While on one of his several tours as a CO of Reserve Units at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, he was promoted to Captain on 01 July 1982. He returned to active duty in 1985 at SPAWAR SYSCOM in Wash D.C. to direct the Contractor Motivation Program, which he continued as a Reserve CO in Portsmouth until his retirement on the USS Constitution in 1992. Among his many awards, he received two Meritorious Service Medals, and proudly swore daughters Margaret to the Air Force and Lissa to the Naval Reserve.

In many years as a leader of the National and Massachusetts Bay Councils of the Navy League, George lead 22 annual geopolitical symposia at BU. These day-long events attended by students from universities throughout the area featured a wargame-like scenario developed by Naval War College, Newport, RI. The symposia furthered the educational mission of the Navy League, earning the local Mass Bay Council several awards.

In his civilian career, George worked for RCA before moving to Chelmsford in 1964 to work as Principal Systems Engineer with Raytheon Company’s HAWK Missile System Program Office in Bedford, MA. In 1969, he and Betty embraced his opportunity to assume an assignment as Asst Program Manager of Raytheon’s Missile Site Radar (MSR) Program Office located on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. There the family enjoyed cultural and recreational activities on the tropical paradise and George played on the Raytheon baseball team and bowling league. Upon returning to the US, he worked on the Plant Manager’s staff at Raytheon’s Lowell facility.

George was active in Chelmsford politics, serving a term on the School Committee, as Chairman of which he proudly presented diplomas to daughter Lissa and the first graduating class from the new Chelmsford High. He was later appointed to the Finance Committee where he served for 10 years as Chairman. He was a founding member of the Town of Chelmsford Arts & Technology Education Fund, serving on the Board administering donations for 14 years.

An Eagle Scout, George was an enthusiastic supporter of both the Boy and Girl Scout Programs and proudly watched his son, George Jr, receive his own Eagle Scout Award. He regularly assisted the American Red Cross in organizing local blood drives & donated 238 pints of blood in his lifetime.

George was a longtime Treasurer for the “Old Chelmsford” Garrison House Association, was on teams that moved the Hill Jock House and other historic buildings to the property and managed the rebuilding of the Adams Blacksmith Shop following a fire. He particularly enjoyed working with Betty on annual sessions of Summer History Camp, which she developed for the Garrison House Guild. For 18 years, he taught kids to hammer nails, tie knots and other skills useful in Colonial times. He was also featured in “Fashions through the Ages,” wearing his actual Korean War dungaree uniform. George was awarded the inaugural Eleanor Parkhurst Award by the Association, was recognized as the 2009 Chelmsford Citizen of the Year, and was the first person honored at the Chelmsford Veteran’s Memorial Park.

One of George’s most challenging projects was the establishment of the non-profit Historic Millstream Organization, undertaken at the request of project originator, the late Lloyd Greene. Beginning in 2012, George led a team of local volunteers in creating an educational program to commemorate the activities at Samuel Adams’ 1656 grist and saw mill on Mill Road, Chelmsford. There, Mr. Greene and his staff developed the technology that successfully generated hydroelectric power for the local area, using an upgraded water wheel. This and other achievements are now on display for visitors to the Mill complex.

George was known by many for his kindness and giving spirit. Stories of him helping a widow achieve her husband’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery, ensuring fellow service members received missing medals, and helping many people in their times of need. We were truly blessed to have George in our world.

The family attended St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, where George served as a deacon for 30 years, and St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Salem, MA. Predeceased by his parents, George Ambrose Ripsom and Katherine (Lind) Ripsom Nelson, and children, Cheryl D. (Ripsom) Massey, and George A. Ripsom Jr, Mr. Ripsom is survived by brothers Frank (Ann) Ripsom of Bloomington, Il and P. David (Pat) Ripsom of Kerrville , TX, daughters Margaret (Arthur) Bleau of Plymouth, and Lissa Ripsom of Richmond, VA, grandchildren Jason Dublin of Swampscott; Benjamin (Audrey) Bleau of Swansea, Taylor A. Harris of Richmond, and Hunter Ripsom-Gardiner of Lowell, great grandchildren Leilana Brown, Nedalye Brown and Benjamin Bleau, Jr, Great-great grandson Xavier, as well as many nieces and nephews, colleagues, shipmates, friends, and fellow Christians throughout the World.

Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, May 5, 2024 from 2 – 6 pm at the Blake Chelmsford Funeral Home, 24 Worthen St., Chelmsford. His Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, at St. Mary Parish, 25 North Rd., Chelmsford at 11 am. KINDLY MEET AT CHURCH. Interment to follow with military honors in Pine Ridge Cemetery, Chelmsford. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of George Ripsom, to: Historic Millstream Foundation, 99 Mill Rd., Chelmsford, MA 01824. Town of Chelmsford Arts and Technology Education Fund, C/O Town of Chelmsford, 50 Billerica Rd., Chelmsford, MA 01824, or, The Old Chelmsford Garrison House, 105 Garrison Rd., Chelmsford, MA, 01824.