John Thomas Riepe, a former buyer for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., and former owner of a tool and equipment rental store, died Oct. 28 at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, after falling at lunch with friends. The longtime Guilford resident was 89.
Mr. Riepe, the son of Joseph Creighton Riepe Sr. and Eleanor Thomas Stump Riepe, was born in Baltimore and grew up on Lake Avenue, just inside the city line. He was nicknamed Bill by his father for no apparent reason and answered to that name his whole life.
He was a 1943 graduate of the Boys' Latin School of Maryland. After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps. He was stationed in the Hawaiian Islands, but did not see combat.
In 1947, he married Jane Murray, whom he met while skating in the old Carlin's Park. They lived in the city's Northwood neighborhood before moving to Guilford in 1961.
He had a long career as a field buyer for A&P before buying a Taylor Rental store in Bel Air in 1976 and later changing its name to Bay Country Rentals. In 1992, he sold the business and retired.
Mr. Riepe was a longtime member of the Elkridge Club in North Baltimore and was active in the Ice Club of Baltimore for many years, including serving as its president. He also enjoyed sailing and golfing.
In retirement, he volunteered at the Curtis National Hand Center at Union Memorial Hospital and also installed Lifeline Medical Alert systems for area residents.
He was an avid reader of biographies and enjoyed riding the tractor and mowing the field at his daughter, Anne Riepe's farm in Phoenix, Md., driving there several times a week. He loved the country and outdoors, having spent summers at several family farms as a child.
"As a young man, he spent a lot of time on his uncle's farm," said a friend, Richard Hynson, of Cross Keys.
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Mr. Riepe had just finished lunch with members of the Tired Men's Club (short for retired men), at the Elkridge Club, when he turned to tell a friend to be careful walking down the steps. He then lost his own balance.
"Everybody thought so much about him," Mr. Hynson said. "He was a fun person to be with and a nice person to talk to. He was just an ideal friend."
Mr. Riepe was a communicant at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 North Charles St., where funeral services were scheduled for Monday, Nov. 3 at 1:30 p.m., in the chapel.
In addition to his wife, Jane, and daughter, Anne, he is survived by another daughter, Philinda Riepe Perl, of Oakenshawe in Baltimore City; a son, John Creighton Riepe, of Rodgers Forge in Baltimore County; and a brother, George Mitchell Stump Riepe, who lives in the Brightwood retirement community.