He was born in Wichita, Kan., on Oct. 13, 1937, to George and Gertrude Lipke. He grew up on the family dairy farm, and attended Clearwater High School in Clearwater, Kan. He learned early in life how to work, beginning and ending his school days with chores on the farm. He was ornery, and getting him to get his chores done was a challenge to his parents.
He left the farm shortly after graduating from high school and began a career in construction. He married Mary Ellen Ferris on April 11, 1959, and together they had six children.
After they were married, they settled on 10 acres that he and Mary Ellen bought west of Haysville, Kan. He formed a partnership with his cousin, and began building houses in the Wichita area. He built his family a nice home on their 10 acres. In 1973, the family moved to Leoti, Kan., and Clem worked in a feedlot for a short time. While in Leoti, he met a local farmer and went to work for him, running his corn farm, which supplied feed to the feedlot. That Kansas farmer bought land in Harney County, and moved Clem and his family there in July 1976 to run the new farm. After the Oregon farm was sold, Clem stayed on in Harney County, moving into town in Burns. He built his family a house and began working in the woods in the logging industry. When logging slowed in Harney County, Clem went back to construction and worked as a self-employed contractor for several years.
After his first marriage ended in 1987, Clem moved to Fallon, Nev., to do construction work, worked in a hardware store for a few years, but eventually continued the work he knew best, construction. Clem married Berniece Adams on July 16, 1994. He and Bea enjoyed exploring the countryside around Fallon until her death in November 2012.
After Bea’s death, Clem became active in square dancing and playing in bridge tournaments with his dancing and bridge partner, Jann Carlucci. They became dear friends and enjoyed each other’s company. He really enjoyed these very active years.
Throughout his life, he enjoyed hunting with friends, playing cards, and taking driving trips. Clem never quit working. He continued to work, doing construction jobs, until his death at the age of 77. He loved an adventure, and frequently would hop into his vehicle and follow some adventure to see where it would lead. You never knew when he might show up. His ornery personality led to many funny stories from family and friends over the years. He enjoyed laughing about his adventures.
Clem is survived by his six children, two brothers and a sister: daughter, Deborah Arntz, and her husband, David, of Burns, son, Michael Lipke, and his wife, Esther, of McMinnville, son, Mark Lipke, and his wife, Debbie, of Moorpark, Calif., daughter, Elizabeth Lipke, and her husband, Scott Hennan, of Riverside, Calif., son, Matthew Lipke, and his wife, Kerrie, of Ankeny, Iowa, son, Benjamin Lipke, and his wife, Lindsey Dunham, of Veradale, Wash.; sister, Marie Hallacy, and her husband, Tom, of Haysville, Kan.; brothers, Sylvester Lipke, and his wife, Virginia, of Haysville, Kan., and Dennis Lipke, and his wife, Sherrie, of Haysville, Kan. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren, one great-grandson, and various nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at the Eagles Lodge in Fallon, Nev., on Jan. 31 at 11 a.m., followed by a potluck luncheon. There will be a private family service in Spokane Wash. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Eagles Lodge in Fallon, Nev., P. O. Box 887, Fallon, Nev. 89407.