Richard Lipsey, a community activist based in Baton Rouge, was born in Selma, Alabama, in 1939. His family moved to Baton Rouge so his father could work for the family business, Steinberg Hide and Fur Company, which he eventually bought. Lipsey grew up in Baton Rouge, and his family belonged to a Reform congregation at Temple B'nai Israel. After graduating from high school, Richard attended Louisiana State University and then went into the service. He served in the Army for two years at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and then in Washington, where he was an aide to President John F. Kennedy and was present for his autopsy after Kennedy's assassination. After his time in the Army, Richard returned to Baton Rouge, met and married his wife Susan, raised two children, and had a successful career in retail and wholesale.
Richard provides an overview of his family background, military experiences, and moving to Baton Rouge and becoming an essential part of the community as a businessman. He tells the story of being in the honor guard in the Marines for John F. Kennedy and was one of few people present at Kennedy's autopsy. Richard talks about the events that unfolded after Hurricane Katrina. He helped facilitate rescue missions for Federation members who needed help evacuating their homes and New Orleans. Richard was well-placed as a community activist with lots of connections to resources and people power to help in the storm's aftermath. For example, Richard was the chief contact for angel flights for those rescued through the Federation. Through his efforts, many were able to escape the city, reunite with family, and find housing in other states. He also led a city-wide rescue of Torahs from synagogues that would have been vulnerable to heat and mold damage.
How to cite this page
Oral History of Richard Lipsey. Interviewed by Rosalind Hinton. 28 October 2006. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 11, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/lipsey-richard>.
Oral History of Richard Lipsey by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.