World War II-era paratrooper, member of the ‘Band of Brothers,’ passes away

Edward Tipper, a World War II paratrooper and member of the famed Easy Company of the 506th Inf. Regt., part of the 101st Airborne Div. that jumped into France on D-Day and was immortalized in the hit HBO mini-series “Band of Brothers,” died February 1 in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, according to his daughter, Kerry Tipper.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Tipper signed up for the Marine Corps but was rejected because his teeth could not bite together. He then volunteered for the US Army paratroopers and was sent to Toccoa, Georgia, and was assigned to Easy Company for training under the now-infamous Captain Herbert Sobel. During the training in Camp Mackall, Tipper was made Sobel’s runner. With his help, according to Tipper, “Sobel was able to mislay his maps, compass, and other items when he most needed them.”

Tipper made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day, where he met with fellow Easy Company member Frank Mellet and some other paratroopers and engaged in a firefight with a German patrol.

Tipper fought in Carentan. After clearing a house, a mortar shell exploded near him when he was standing in the doorway. His right eye was destroyed and his legs were broken. Joseph Liebgott, fellow Easy Company member, was the first one to reach him and attended to him. Liebgott and Harry Welsh then dragged Tipper to a nearby aid station. Tipper was sent to a hospital in England where his right eye was removed. He was then sent back to the United States where and he attended the University of Michigan.

As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Edward Tipper became an avid handball player just because he was told he couldn’t due to depth perception issues.

Tipper went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Northern Colorado, then the Colorado State Teachers College, where he picked up skiing. He remained an avid skier well into his 80s.

He had a nearly 30-year teaching career, starting in Iowa and then returning to Colorado, where he taught English Literature and ran Drama programs at schools in Jefferson County, including Wheat Ridge High School, Lakewood High School, Alameda High School, and Arvada High School. He received the John Hay Fellowship from the University of California Berkeley in 1961.

After retirement in 1979, Edward Tipper began traveling and three years later he met and married his wife, Rosalina, in Costa Rica.

“He would want to be remembered as someone that changed lives, that brought meaning to people’s lives,” Kerry Tipper said. “He would want to be remembered as the incredible father and husband he was.”

In addition to his daughter, Edward Tipper is survived by his wife and son-in-law Blake Holloway. The family will have a private burial this month at Fort Logan with full military honors. A public ceremony will be held June 1 in Lakewood. Those interested in attending are asked to send an e-mail [email protected]