Longtime Boyd I.S.D. superintendent and Springtown elementary principal William “Bill” Frederick Lipstreu, 88, died July 1.
His longtime secretary in Springtown, Ruth Ann Carlisle, described him as a kind, giving man who always put students and faculty before himself.
“He was more like a grandfather to all of the students, and they loved him dearly,” she said. “They hated to come to the office (when they were in trouble) because they knew they had disappointed him. He was trying to teach children to be good citizens, good family members.”
Carlisle said he was an example to all the students.
Lipstreu, who grew up in Aubrey, started his education career in 1949 as a teacher in Boyd. He became a principal there in 1953 and was made superintendent in 1956. He served in that post until 1970.
At that time he moved to Springtown and took the principal’s job at a school that was later named for him – Lipstreu Elementary.
Carlisle worked with Lipstreu for 14 years, and she said he was in the hall every morning to greet students, who all stopped to give him a big hug.
“He was never gruff or rough with a child, always gentle, always loving because he didn’t know each one of their home situations, and that might be the only place they got a hug,” she said. “The kids respected him very much.”
Lipstreu also worked hard to meet the physical needs of the students while they were on campus. It wasn’t unusual for him to give a child lunch money from his own pocket or ensure that a child who needed a winter coat received one.
“One time there was a class that for the Christmas party … the girls decided they wanted to wear long dresses to school,” Carlisle said. “One little girl didn’t have a dress, but Mr. Lipstreu made sure she had a long dress.”
Carlisle said he extended that same generosity to his staff, offering to help any way he could with professional and sometimes personal issues.
“At one time he was kind of like a father figure to me,” she said.
Once when several of her family members had surgery or were seriously ill, Carlisle said Lipstreu helped her every day by accomplishing office tasks so she could leave early or picking up her children and taking them to appointments in the afternoon.
One year, unbeknownst to each other, they came to school at Halloween dressed as each other, she complete with a suit and tie, and he in a dress.
“We all had fun together, but we had very serious times, too,” she said. “He was an educator first of all to the children, and he ensured they had the best education, opportunities and teachers.
“Everyone loved him. We did crazy things … the teachers and staff, but we knew our limits and bounds, and he joined in with us,” she said. “He wanted us to all get along, to respect him and love each other. And we all did.”
Carlisle said her son is a high school principal and upon receiving his administrator’s certificate he said he hoped he could be a principal like Lipstreu.
“He was a driving force,” Carlisle said of her longtime boss.
“Back in the old days, we had the old Southern gentleman … that was Mr. Lipstreu … nothing ever discolored … always the best of everything.”
Lipstreu was a member of the Boyd Masonic Lodge and the Eureka Lodge in Springtown. He and his wife, Nell, retired to Circle W RV Ranch in Rockport, but he returned to this area last spring when congestive heart failure weakened him.
He was preceded in death by his wife; daughter Mykel Blanchard; grandson Eric Gromatzky; and brother Otis Keen Lipstreu.
He is survived by daughter Sandy Brown and husband, Richard of Boyd; grandsons Donny Brown of Springtown and Barry Brown and wife, Michelle, of Boyd; and great-grandchildren Luke and Jaycee.
Graveside service for Lipstreu was Friday at Springtown Cemetery.