Rochester: July 2, 2017. He is survived by his wife: Gail B. (Bennett)Gipner; children, Marcy (John)McLenithan, Cathy Gipner, John B.(Marfrisa) Gipner; grandchildren, John (Joanna), Katherine, Christopher, Megan & Matthew McLenithan, Jaeden Gipner-Repp, Emiliana Gipner; brother, David Gipner; niece & nephew, & dear friends.
No prior visitation. John's funeral service will be celebrated Saturday, August 26, at Christ Church,141 East Avenue, Rochester. Funeral service time TBD. Interment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI), 422 S Clinton Ave, Rochester, NY 14620.
John was born on February 24, 1934 in Rochester NY during a big snow storm at the old westside hospital. He grew up in the town of Brighton, first on Glen Ellyn Drive and later at Ambassador Drive where his brother David was born. John's mother, Marcella, was a homemaker and a member of the Century Club. Marcella was known for her culinary skills and loved cooking for her family. His dad Dr. John was a well renowned ophthalmologist and the second chairman of the Ophthalmology Department at Strong Memorial Hospital.
As a young child John was very active. He loved his electric train set, acquiring many special cars for his set including logging operations as well as farming scenes all complete with smoking engines.
John spent many summers at Camp Pathfinder in Canada and proceeded to become a Jr. & then Sr. Counselor and swim instructor there. Swimming was his most favorite sport and spending summers at the camp a favorite pastime while growing up.
As a teen-ager, he LOVED cars and was known to take his dad's Cadillac out to the sidewalk and drive it! When he could legally drive, John owned a British racing green Austin Healy Sports Car.
He often participated in road rallies on weekends with friends who also owned sports cars. That car also saw him through his years while stationed at Ft. Dix, NJ. When it came time to trade that car in for the "family car", John actually cried at the thought of selling it. He enjoyed many years of driving pleasure in that car, as he associated it with his life as a carefree bachelor and those days were fleeting.
For many years he owned a little white "beetle" Volkswagen which became as well loved by him as the Austin Healy. He used that car for transportation to work and to get around town. He drove it until the floor rusted out due to the salted roads in Rochester winters. He replaced the floor with wooden planks and plywood rather than give the car up! There was no heater in that car so he rigged up 3-inch round black corrugated hoses to bring heat from the engine in the rear to passengers in the front. This method also served to defrost the windshield when the warm air was directed there.
John served time in the Army at Ft. Dix, NJ from 1956-1958. In 1957, he met Gail Ann Bennett of Trenton, NJ at a mutual friend's wedding. After that many days of his Army "career" were spent in Trenton with Gail and her family. He always enjoyed Mom Bennett's delicious suppers so the standing joke was that he would arrive at "Camp Bennett" in time for supper when Gail arrived home from work. Since John was on duty in the Base Hospital from midnight to 8 a.m., he had his days free. As fortune would have it, neighbors of the Bennett's had an in-ground pool where John could be found most days by 4 p.m. cleaning the pool so that he could enjoy a swim. On the day he was discharged, Mom B. Asked him to wear his uniform that evening to dinner so that she could confirm that he really was in the Army. At one time, he made it known that he disliked eggplant, so Dad B. told John (jokingly) that we had eggplant for dinner every night! However, that did not deter him from driving to Trenton for many dinners and visits until his discharge. On the day he was discharged, Mom B. Asked him to wear his uniform that evening to dinner so that she could confirm that he really was in the Army. At one time, he made it known that he disliked eggplant, so Dad B. told John (jokingly) that we had eggplant for dinner every night! However, that did not deter him from driving to Trenton for many dinners and visits until his discharge.
Following his service in the military John Returned to Rochester to take up studies in pre-med at the University of Rochester, in 1959 he turned his attention to a career as an optician at the firm of Whelpley & Paul, where he enjoyed his work helping patients see well. He became proficient in contact lens fitting and working with patients who required artificial eyes. For many years John continued to enjoy a successful career and partnership with Whelpley & Paul.
John and Gail became engaged in August 1959 and married on June 11, 1960 at Christ Episcopal Church in Trenton New Jersey, where they began their life together and began raising a family. In June of this year John and Gail celebrated their 57th anniversary.
In the days when he was the father of 3 children, he took the girls to some children's' plays and to the Russian Ballet when it performed in Rochester. He loved classical music and had an extensive record collection of favorite during those years. He made sure that the children were exposed to good music and provided all three of them with piano lessons. Every summer the family would vacation on Long Beach Island, NJ and would usually be joined by family members and friends. Those times provided a chance to be close to family and to enjoy the beauty of the sea. Many wonderful meals of "clams & "shrimps", fruits of the sea, were enjoyed by all. One time the children had the lobsters running races on the kitchen floor. Then it was a sobering time when the lobsters were committed to the large cooking pot. John always found time to be an active member of Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Rochester, where he served as Chairman of the Property Commission for many years and sang in the choir.
Because of his favorite sport of swimming and his love of the under-water world, John took up the sport of SCUBA diving. He was a member of the Genesee Valley Scuba Club and had many good friends and dive buddies throughout the years as a Club member. He also took trips that were planned around SCUBA diving to Hawaii and Bonaire NA. Bonaire was his most favorite dive site and he and Gail returned there many times. He dove with GVSC members on wrecks in the St. Lawrence River, in Canandaigua and Seneca Lakes. One well-loved dive site in the "north" was at Tobermory, in Lake Huron. He loved the sound of the fog horn in the early mornings. Another hobby of John's was amateur photography, especially that of underwater photography. On SCUBA trips John enjoyed photographing undersea creatures by day and night. He could always be seen traveling with a heavy camera bag over each shoulder and at least one or two cameras around his neck. He loved to photograph family events. He spent so much time behind the camera that he appears sparsely in those photos.
John's very favorite TV show was "Star Trek". At one point when the show was to be taken off TV, John wrote a letter of protest. As it happened, the show was renewed and ran for many years thereafter. Sci-fi became a favorite source of entertainment and he was an avid fan of the "Star Wars" series of programs and movies. He also enjoyed reading the Clive Cussler adventure series of novels and a variety of non-fiction novels. He was a loyal fan of the Buffalo Bills and never missed a televised game.
In 1975, John and Gail traveled to England, to visit cousins and enjoyed the sights and sounds of London and the Midlands taking in many side trips to historical places of interest. On one daily adventure, they passed a Rolls with Bob Hope, a passenger in the back. He was returning to London from a golf tournament. It was a thrill to see him and he waved as we all gawked out our windows! . During that trip they spent 3 days in Paris and fell in love with the beautiful city. Besides many summer vacations spent visiting the Jersey shore and trips to Bonaire, In the 70's the couple traveled twice to Hawaii. One trip combined business and pleasure by attending seminars with the Amway Company., for which the couple were sales reps.
Gail & John traveled to Italy and Greece with a travel-agent friend and her husband. It was the trip of a lifetime with a week spent visiting Rome, Florence and areas around Tuscany. The trip culminated in a week-long cruise on a Windstar sailing vessel from the port of Rome to several Italian islands, a buffet dinner on deck spent anchored in front of Stromboli with the active volcano producing small amounts of lava under a full moon. A sight and experience etched in their minds forever. Other Ports of Call included several Greek Islands before disembarking in Athens for the final day of sightseeing.
Truly a spectacular trip with our friend who had traveled to Italy many times before and who knew just the perfect type of accommodations and the perfect sights to be seen.
John took pride in his home. He and Gail enjoyed entertaining guests for Saturday evening dinners and an evening of bridge at home. They were members of two couples' bridge groups and enjoyed many informal, social gatherings around the bridge table. John enjoyed making a special breakfast for the family on weekend mornings, and grilling outdoors summer and winter! He was proud of his lawn and worked hard at maintaining it to his liking. He could be seen walking behind the mower with his son in a carrier on his back. As the family grew John decided to construct an addition to the kitchen and put on a new roof. He spent one summer working on the project on weekends and evenings. Upon completion a beautiful, much-needed eating area had been constructed. It was a very satisfying experience to watch and then be able to enjoy the fruits of his labors