Lynn Marie Zipperer died in St. Paul, Minnesota at the United Emergency Room on August 25, 2020 after a preventable and curable disease was complicated by a lifelong, daily confrontation with severe mental illness and the accompanying social stigma. She faced life with a rich, quick, and witty sense of humor that would show up at times when least expected.
Lynn was born in Ashland, WI on March 30th, 1954 to Betty Lou and Gordon Neal Zipperer. She moved with her family to Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, and then to Burnsville, Minnesota where she had a happy childhood in the brand-new suburb of Minneapolis. Lynn attended Burnsville Public schools as a straight A student for her entire tenure and graduated from Burnsville High School, class of 1972, where she was a talented first chair flutist. Lynn briefly attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa before moving to St. Cloud, Minnesota to enroll in the English Literature/Education program at St. Cloud State University where she finished with a 4.0 GPA but was unable to complete the student teaching program.
After college, Lynn was recruited into the U.S. Army and was sent to the language school in Monterey, California and briefly deployed to Germany. Lynn had an early honorable military discharge and was hospitalized for a short period in Denver, Colorado and then moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado for a few years in the 1980s. In Glenwood Springs, she worked for, and trained as a dog groomer, where she learned of her affinity for animals.
With this self-knowledge, Lynn moved back to the Midwest and with the help of her mother, started a pet grooming business in St. Paul, moved into a home across the river from downtown on Morton Street and made that neighborhood, which she rarely left, her oyster shell where she lived for the remainder of her life surrounded by the good people of the community who were kind and generous towards her. Lynn cultivated her affinity for animals, taking in stray cats, cast off dogs, and a parrot who was her best friend for 20 years. Lynn’s sole and reliable comfort in life was her relationship with these pets and as they dropped out of her life one by one, it is difficult to know just how much they meant to her, but she could never be long without one.
Other distractions for Lynn were her love for literature and art. She spent time painting, drawing, reading, gardening, writing, and doing anything that could inform her and give meaning to her own life.
Lynn was preceded in death by her devoted mother, Betty, her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. She has left behind her loyal, loving, and attentive father, Gordon, in Cambridge, MN, her brother Mark Zipperer (Heather Butler) in Madison, WI as well as numerous cousins and her roommate, protector, hand, and friend of 18 years, Franklin Martin, St. Paul, MN who remembers her as a warm and friendly woman.
Lynn’s family wishes to thank the people of the community in which she lived for their kindness and this includes the people of the Ramsey County Crisis Center, the St. Paul Police, St. Paul EMS paramedics, ER staff at United and the medical staff at the VA hospital, all of whom stood up for Lynn.
In lieu of flowers, Lynn’s family asks that you reach out to someone you know who struggles with mental illness and offer a kind word and smile.
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