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Westminster man who ‘changed people’s lives’ during 61 years at Sykesville hospital enjoys retirement parade

Robert “Bob” Lippy completed 61 years of employment at Springfield Hospital Center, and to make sure he knew how appreciated he was, friends and coworkers threw him a surprise, socially distanced parade in his honor.

Some two-dozen vehicles filled with friends and coworkers drove by Lippy’s house on Friday, July 31, using flashers and holding special signs with some of Lippy’s favorite sayings, like “back when I was in the Navy,” and “I got my RN the easy way … I married her.”

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A now-retired assistant recruiter and CPR instructor at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, Lippy was known around the hospital for his vibrant personality and energetic demeanor.

“He’s this little social butterfly,” said Nicole Holsey, Lippy’s longtime co-worker, and frequent lunch buddy. “He’s such a cool guy, he just knows everybody around town and is just so sociable.”

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“The Legend,” as many of his co-workers called him, lied about his age and joined the Navy at 16 years old, according to Holsey. He traveled the world during his service to countries such as Germany, Japan, and Italy in the USS Midway, the largest ship in the world until 1955. He then came to work at Springfield shortly after exiting the Navy in 1959.

The Westminster resident held a variety of positions during his 61 years at the hospital, according to Lippy’s wife, Karen, who was head of the nursing department at Springfield Hospital before she retired.

springfield Hospital Center CEO Paula Langmeade presents a plaque to Bob Lippy as his co-workers lead a parade of cars past his home in Westminster to celebrate his retirement from Springfield Hospital Center after 61 years.
springfield Hospital Center CEO Paula Langmeade presents a plaque to Bob Lippy as his co-workers lead a parade of cars past his home in Westminster to celebrate his retirement from Springfield Hospital Center after 61 years. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

He was in the nursing department for many years until he switched positions and began working under administration as both a special project manager and an assistant recruiter where he hired nurses for more than 50 years.

“He literally hired three or four generations of people and families,” said Holsey. “I’ve been there for 13 years and he’s hired people who have double the amount of time that I’ve been there.”

According to Holsey, a woman who retired a few years ago from the Hospital after over 50 years of service told Holsey, “I’ll always remember that Bob Lippy — he was the one that hired me.”

“She came to work at the hospital when she was 18 years old and wound up from becoming a registered nurse to the RN manager, which is the second-highest position in the facility,” said Holsey.

Lippy is also credited with bringing the CPR program to Springfield hospital where he taught classes to staff members.

“He’s a great teacher. Everybody loves him as a teacher and he makes it easy for everybody,” said Lippy’s wife. ”It’s one of those ‘everybody loves Bob’ things.”

When asked why he decided to work at the hospital for more than six decades, Lippy said he stayed because of the people.

“Because the people that were there were excellent people,” said Lippy. “It was like my second home.”

Although the Korean War veteran’s last day was June 30, those who know him wanted to make sure he felt loved, even from 6 feet away.

Before the surprise, Lippy said his wife had told him a few cars would be driving by in front of their home to wave so he should step outside to greet them. However, he said wasn’t expecting a line of nearly 25 vehicles “as far as the eye could see” lined up on his street.

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“She said a couple of cars so I thought all of the extra cars in front must be holding the other people up, but no, they were all cars with people that I had worked with or trained,” said Lippy. “It was very, very nice. I never had anything like that before and I’m sure I never will again.”

Lippy was also presented with an honorary plaque by Springfield Hospital Center CEO Paula Langmeade that commemorated his 61 years of service.

Although Lippy has retired from the hospital, he said that he will continue teaching CPR classes at Carroll Community College.

“It saves lives. I’ve had some people come back from class and they tell me their story about saving somebody’s life, which is great,” Lippy said.

Although it was a bittersweet moment, friends and coworkers were happy to celebrate Lippy’s longtime service and dedication to Springfield Hospital Center.

“There’s been a lot of people that have retired that said that if Bob wouldn’t have given them a chance, they never would have even gone into nursing,” said Holsey. “He has changed people’s lives.”

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