Lifecycles | Obituaries

Berthold Lippel

Berthold (“Bert”) Lippel, 87, died May 5, 2019.

Mr. Lippel was born in Dusseldorf, Germany. He and his family experienced the growing hostility of the Nazi regime, including witnessing the infamous Kristallnacht. They fled to Belgium, occupied by Germany, and spent the next years in hiding. Berthold and his sister Barbara were “Hidden Children,” separated from their parents until the liberation by the Allies in 1944. The family immigrated to the United States in 1949, settling on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. After graduating from the RCA Institutes as an electronic technician, Mr. Lippel began work for RCA on the development of BIZMAC, the first large commercial computer. He then attended MIT, graduating in 1956 with a B.S. in economics and electrical engineering, and joining IBM for a 33-year career.

He married Beatrice (Cohen) Lippel in 1959 and they had four daughters. In 1978, the family moved from Denver, Colorado, to Tucson, where Mr. Lippel was one of the founding members of Congregation Chofetz Chayim. After taking early retirement in 1989, he trained as clinical hypnotherapist and conducted a private practice until 2002, specializing in stage fright, pain management, and cancer therapy symptoms. He next devoted himself to portrait photography. An exhibit of his portraits of the elderly is on permanent view in the lobby of Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging and his portraits of children and families grace many local homes. He also published several collections of poetry. 

Mr. Lippel was a volunteer for many local causes. Twice the recipient of IBM’s prestigious Social Service Award, he was able to take two sabbaticals devoted to social service. The first project, in Denver, was with Project Atlantis—a pioneering effort to empower severely disabled young people to live independently in the community. In the second project he worked with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation in Tucson, helping patients find more freedom to write and speak by applying computer technology. Mr. Lippel was also one of the early hospice volunteers in Tucson, and worked with the Giving Tree shelter as staff photographer, documenting the plight of homeless mothers and children.

Survivors include his children, Miriam Lippel-Blum and husband Bennett, Naomi Lippel, and Ellie Lippel, all of Tucson, and Rebecca Lockhart and husband Robin of San Francisco; his sister Barbara Schulman of Los Angeles; and two grandsons.

Services were held at Evergreen Mortuary with Rabbi Robert Eisen of Congregation Anshei Israel officiating, followed by interment in the Congregation Anshei Israel section at Evergreen Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association,