Elizabeth Shippee, 100, was born Sept. 20, 1920, and died Jan. 5, 2021. She grew up in Portland, Ore., and attended the University of Oregon for her bachelor’s degree, and later, Syracuse University in New York State, where she was awarded a Master of Arts. During WWII, Elizabeth served in SPARS, the women’s division of the Coast Guard. She married B. Warner Shippee in 1952. They had three children: Susan Clark Shippee, David Atwater Shippee and Douglas Cowan Shippee.
Elizabeth and Warner raised their family in St. Anthony Park. They were both active in the Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul. Elizabeth worked for many years at Metro State University as dean of advising, assistant to the president and, finally, acting vice president. She was tireless in her work for social justice, volunteering for the United Way, Planned Parenthood and Parents for Integrated Education. She was an early and ardent advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment.
In 1985, she traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend the World Conference on Women as part of the delegation from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Throughout her life, Elizabeth was a mentor, a role model and an advocate for many professional women. At home and in the workplace, she was always ready to welcome and encourage; to advise and support; and did so with humility, a wealth of experience and a ready laugh.
One of her favorite places was Star Island in Cass Lake, where she summered with her family. There, for over 60 years, she visited with friends and neighbors, hiked the island’s trails, kept a keen eye out for eagle nests, swam and enjoyed the natural beauty of the island. Elizabeth’s 100th birthday party was celebrated with style and social distancing under a clear blue Minnesota sky. She was surrounded by family and friends, both in person and virtually. Well-wishers formed a car parade, giving cards and balloons and enjoying a piece of birthday cake, while Elizabeth waved and smiled. Elizabeth’s optimism never failed her even in her last weeks.
Memorial gifts may be directed to the University of Minnesota Foundation (David Donhowe Shippee Memorial Scholarship) or the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.