Citizen of the Year: John Bippus to be honored by Three Rivers Lions Club

John Bippus

The Three Rivers Lions Club has named Lion John W. Bippus as the 2022 Bruce C. Snook Citizen of the Year. Since 1965, the Lions Club has recognized persons who, through a commitment to service, have given unselfishly of themselves for the betterment of the community.

In keeping with this tradition, Bippus will receive his honor during a public banquet on Monday, May 16, 2022. He joins past recipients William R. Monroe (1972), Stuart Stuckey (1988), Marilyn Miholer (1992), Suzy Warner (1995), James Dal Ponte (2003), Tom Meyer (2004), Phyllis Jones (2005), Mary and Taylor Snow (2008), Charlene Zavala (2009), George Cole (2011), Jerry Wright (2014), Al Heivilin (2016),   Jo and Del Barton (2017), and last year’s Citizen of the Year, Dave Berry.

John was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and moved with his family to Three Rivers in 1968. John was nine and his father, an engineer, had been transferred to Essex Wire as a new department manager. 

John’s love of business and public service developed at a young age. As a child, John played “salesman” with pamphlets from a neighbor and a desk set up in the garage. In high school John participated in Boy’s State and visited Washington D.C. John also worked at his parent’s gas station as a teen and could be routinely found pumping gas for customers, helping with tire and oil changes and whatever else needed to be done. After graduating from Three Rivers High School, John continued to work with his parents at the gas station. Later, he worked as a car salesman, before determining that selling real estate was his forte. John went on to get his Broker’s license and open his own business. 

Over the years John has demonstrated strong leadership skills in both the public and private sectors. He has been President of his own real estate company for over 30 years.  He is a past President of the St. Joseph County Realtor Association, Michigan Guardianship Association, secretary and life time member of the Michigan Auctioneer’s Association and founder of John Bippus Charities. His charity organization has donated funds to over 20 Michigan groups. John’s wife, Sharon, is a retired special education teacher, and John has consistently donated funds to both local and state Special Olympics organizations.

John has been elected to numerous local government positions, including the Three Rivers City Commission, St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners, the St. Joseph County Board of Road Commissioners and the Glen Oaks Board of Trustees. John has been on at least one of these boards for a total of 36 years. 

John has been a Lion for 8 years, originally joining to spend more time with his father, Lion Jim Bippus. John is the Treasurer of the Three Rivers Lions Club. He is the unofficial photographer for the group, and has helped out with the Ox Roast and other fundraisers and causes.

As Citizen of the Year, John follows in the footsteps of his parents, Jim and Vera Bippus who were elected Citizens of the Year in 2012. John and Sharon Bippus have been married for 25 years, and are the proud parents of James Bippus, who has followed his father’s footsteps, and opened his own business. James has 2 sons, age 10 and 12. In John’s spare time he enjoys working in the yard, participating in cross fit classes and visiting his mother, who is teaching him to cook Syrian food. 

John has been a Lion for 8 years, originally joining to spend more time with his father, Lion Jim Bippus. John is the Treasurer of the Three Rivers Lions Club. He is the unofficial photographer for the group, and has helped out with the Ox Roast and other fundraisers and causes.

The May 16 banquet honoring John Bippus will take place at Pine View Golf Course, Three Rivers. The evening will begin with a “social time” at 6:00, followed by dinner at 6:30 and a program featuring presentations by several speakers. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $25 per person, are on sale at Ridgeway Floral in Three Rivers, or by contacting Julie Mayuiers  at 269-254-1938 or [email protected] or Sheree Sorensen at 269-506-1744 or [email protected].  No tickets will be available at the door.

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