Arthur J. Stippler, A Servant
The following is a special tribute written by the children of Art Stippler, who recently “retired” after 64 years as a Vincentian.
As long as we can remember, our dad, Arthur Stippler has been a Vincentian in mind, heart and soul. The St. Vincent de Paul website describes a Vincentian as a man or woman “who strives to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to individuals in need and is aware that our blessings (time, talent or treasure) are to be shared with our brothers and sisters in need.” That describes our dad to a tee.
It was with a heavy heart that Dad wrote the letter stepping down from being an active member. When one of us asked him if he was sad about it he replied, “Yes. There are so many memories, good and bad, but it’s time and your mom needs me now.” At 90 years old he does continue to serve. He is a prayerful man and is so kind and loving in the care giving to our mom, Janice Marie. They’ve now been together for 67 years.
It was back in 1951 at St. Theresa Parish in Evansville, when Dad first got involved. Soon after that, in 1954, the family moved to Holy Spirit Parish and Dad quickly became involved in the organization and has been an active member ever since. Although the Society has many different focuses, Dad’s main focus over his 64 years of service has been being a “voice for the poor.” Of course, holding various offices such as president, treasurer and secretary both at the parish level and the Diocesan council level provided opportunities for him to push for “systemic change” and be an advocate for diversity, as well. In the early to mid 60s civil unrest and the push for civil rights was going on all over the United States. Evansville, Indiana was no different and the Society was involved with many things. Demonstrations for open housing and workplace diversity were going on. Our dad was there. What’s even more amazing is Dad did this with a wife and the seven of us kids. Many times we did not understand why he dropped everything to take a call at the house and then go deliver food or other much needed items, but Dad would respond without question. Looking back we now understand that it is just who he was and still is. Serving others is the fabric in which he is made.
As people grow older, they often reflect on what their legacy will be. Our Dad’s legacy to both the community and to his family is service. All of us, his seven children, either volunteer or have careers where we serve. His grandchildren numbering 12, some of which are older, continue his legacy of service. His 14 great-grandchildren, 14 years and younger, are still a bit young but having Grandpa Art to inspire them to serve will no doubt continue his legacy of service well into the 21st century.