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OBITUARY | Joan Miller Lipsky

Joan Miller Lipsky, 96, of Longboat Key and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died Aug. 18.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. September 2, 2015
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Joan Miller Lipsky, 96, of Longboat Key and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died Aug. 18.

Born April 9, 1919, in Cedar Rapids, Mrs. Lipsky graduated from Gulf Park Academy for Women in Gulfport, Miss. She received a bachelor's in psychology from Northwestern University in 1940 and attended graduate school at the State University of Iowa, which is now the University of Iowa. She married Abbott Lipsky in 1941. After the war, the couple moved to Cedar Rapids, where they raised three children.

In November 1966, Mrs. Lipsky was the first woman elected to represent Linn County in the Iowa General Assembly. During her tenure as a state representative, she served as assistant minority leader of the Iowa General Assembly and a member of the Midwest Conference of State Legislators. She was recognized as an outstanding legislator by the Iowa Welfare Association and the Business and Professional Women. In 1975, she participated in the first World Conference for Women in Mexico City. She served six terms in the general assembly from 1967 to 1978.

During her final term in office, Mrs. Lipsky began to attend law school at the University of Iowa. After graduating with a Juris Doctor in 1980, she practiced law in Cedar Rapids. In 1986, she ran for lieutenant governor of Iowa on the Republican ticket with Governor Terry Branstad.

Ms. Lipsky joined the board of trustees of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in 1973 and remained an honorary trustee until her passing. Since the mid-1990s, she was a member of and volunteer at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens during her winters on Longboat Key. She became a member of the Coe College board of trustees in 1982 and was elected chairwoman in 1997.

In 2014, she served as commencement speaker, was awarded the degree Doctor of Humane Letters and became a trustee emeritus.

Mrs. Lipsky was preceded in death by her husband, Abbott Lipsky, and parents, John and Ruth Miller. She is survived by her children, Ann, John and Tad.

Memorials in Joan’s memory may be directed to Coe College, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art or Selby Gardens.


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