Reinhard Erich Lippert, 81, passed away May 15, 2020

Reinhard Erich Lippert, 81, of Benton Harbor, passed away on Friday, May 15, 2020, at Caretel Inn, with his wife by his side. He celebrated his 82nd birthday on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Heaven.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, May 30 at 11:00 AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Joseph. Friends may visit with the family on Friday, May 29, 2020, from 4PM until 6PM, at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Rd. Due to the uncertainty of the future of large events these services are still tentative. Memorials contributions may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, 619 Main St., St. Joseph, or the Alzheimer’s Association, 200 Turhill Dr. Suite 6 Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at

Reinhard was born on May 20, 1938, in Wincentuwka, Poland to Robert & Ida (Rein) Lippert. His family left Bremerhaven, Germany and arrived at Ellis Island on December 13, 1951; he was only 13 years old. His family was sponsored by the Arthur Kublick family in Sodus. Reinhard’s family arrived at the Niles train station in 1951 from New York and their first home was on River Road in Sodus, which was right across the street from the Kublick Farm. Reinhard became a citizen of the USA in the 1960’s.

Reinhard left school in the ninth grade to go to work in order to support his family who were too proud to go on public assistance. He was very proud to earn his GED at the age of 62 from Lakeshore Adult Education.

He proudly served his country in the United States Army from 1961 to 1963 before being honorably discharged. He met General Westmoreland and was asked if he would like to serve his country over at Check Point Charlie in Berlin, Germany. Reinhard unfortunately refused because his new life was with his family in Michigan.

During his life he helped build many homes in St. Joseph and Benton Township areas working for Arthur Kublick Builders. He also assisted Karl Gollnast of Bridgman on several remodeling projects.

He also worked for Voice of Music, General Consolidated in Glendora, CA, Kaywood Products and Sun Coast Packaging and ABC Precision Machining.

On October 30, 1999, he married the love of his life Donna J Lippert. The ceremony was performed by Pastor Tom Batsky of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph Michigan.

He was a member of the Stevensville American Legion, an Honorary Member of the St Joe Kickers Sports Club, and a 40 year member of Dank National in Chicago Illinois. He was President of the local BH/ST JOE Dank #13 chapter in 1995 where he met Donna. From there the relationship transpired. He played soccer at the age of 46 at the St Joe Kickers Sports Club where his team took 1st place in 1984.

Reinhard was also a former member of The Russians from Germany Club in St. Joseph and was involved in the Lakeshore Jaycees while his daughter Julie attended Lakeshore High School. In 2011, Reinhard was awarded a Special Tribute from Governor Rick Snyder, John Proos, Fred Upton and Al Pscholka for being in the United States as a proud German-American for 60 years. He also received a Good Conduct Medal.

Reinhard enjoyed hunting and was know for his hard work, always making sure the job was done quickly and efficiently. He passed that way also.

Reinhard’s ever present warm smile, handshakes and hugs will always be remembered.

Survived by his wife Donna of Benton Harbor; daughter Julie Lippert- Hoge; son-in-law Michael Hoge; two grandchildren Rachel and Matthew Hoge.

He is also survived by his sister in law Diana Loewen, sister in law Marcia Ann Erb and her husband Todd Erb. And nephew Ryan A Erb and his wife Melissa Erb and great niece Harper Ann Erb and niece Jenna Erb Grimm and her husband John Grimm . Also survived by many cousins locally and living in Germany and Austria.

Preceded in death by his parents; grandson Luke Hoge who passed away in 1997; siblings Gerda, Gerhard, Horst and another sibling who passed away in Poland/Germany as a baby. Their name and age is unknown.

Reinhard’s family is encouraging individuals to share their photos on the funeral home website. 

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