Retired Chicago Police Commander Nancy Y. Lipman died April 11 due to complications from ovarian cancer. She was 61.
Lipman was born Jan. 21, 1960 in Chicago and graduated from Morgan Park High School. She also graduated from St. Xavier University, with a bachelor's degree. She was a lifelong Chicago resident who lived in the Beverly neighborhood for most of her adult life.
Shortly after her college graduation, she became a paralegal but ultimately decided to become a Chicago police officer in 1985. Lipman started as a patrol officer, became a field training officer for recruits and, eventually, a sergeant on the tactical team. She was promoted to lieutenant in 1999, captain in 2008 and a commander of the public transportation unit in 2013. Lipman retired in 2016 to spend more time with her family.
Regarding the personal side of her life, in 2002, Lipman decided to attend a speed-dating event on the North Side on the advice of a close friend. She was looking to date again and it was at that event where she met Johanne Kenol. During the speed-dating rounds their names matched and, a week later, Lipman called her to ask her out on a date. After that first one-on-one date, both of them knew they would be together forever.
After they dated for awhile, Lipman introduced Kenol to her son, Christopher Lipman, who had just recently graduated from college. Kenol and Christopher became fast friends and that extended to his now-wife Diana. Lipman and Kenol entered into a civil union in 2012 and converted that into a marriage license when same-sex marriage was legalized in Illinois in 2014.
For most of Lipman's career, she was involved with LGPA/GOAL Chicago. The group consists of Chicago's first responderspolice officers, 911 dispatchers, firefighters, EMTs and other medical personnel.
Within LGPA/GOAL Chicago, Lipman was a board member, promoting diversity and acceptance as well as educating the police and community about LGBTQ people and their history.
Lipman loved animals and that included rescuing dogs and cats and finding families who would take care of them.
Some of her most cherished moments were spent at the couple's South Haven, Michigan home, where she was able be with her family, including her pets. This included taking her grandchildrenMatthew, Abigail and Sean Lipmansledding, biking, park-hopping and exploring nature.
Lipman is survived by Kenol, Christopher, Diana, Matthew, Abigail, Sean, brother Daniel Blank, nieces Allysson and Danicka Blank and countless chosen family members and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Nancy Blank.
In a statement on LGPA/GOAL's website board member Kevin Bryson said, "Nancy was heavily involved in LGPA/GOAL Chicago's modernization in the 1990s and has continually supported LGPA/GOAL Chicago. The board of directors and membership of LGPA/GOAL Chicago wish to recognize that Nancy's dedication to LGPA/GOAL Chicago (and ours to her) has been key to shaping and supporting our organization. Her support has been fundamental in our journey for equality and acceptance. Nancy will be missed beyond words. Nancy, we will continue to carry the torch in your honor, with your memory in our hearts, and your sense of humor and wisdom as our guides. We grieve with Commander Lipman's wife, Johanne, and their family."
"Nancy was proud of all the good work that LGPA/GOAL did to support the LGBTQA+ police officers and the support that the organization lends to various charities throughout the years," said longtime friend, CPD (Chicago Police Department) homicide detective Jamie Richardson. "Nancy's pride shined with her constant dedication of her volunteer work and charitable contributions to the many endeavors that LGPA/GOAL Chicago pursued, including Nancy's contributions to the Chicago's Gay Games Participation in an effort for Chicago hosting the 2006 Gay Games, worked with the Chicago Police Department to implement a LGBT Sensitivity Training, helped promote LGBTQA+ films for mainstream exposure, has assisted with improved relations with outside organizations and community relations with countless hours of volunteer work and charitable contributions and played a key role in organizing The International LGBT Conference for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Professionals. The membership of LGPA/GOAL Chicago wish to recognize that Nancy's dedication to LGPA/GOAL Chicago (and ours to her) has been the key to shaping and supporting our organization. Her support has been fundamental in our journey for equality and acceptance.
"Nancy was a pioneer within the CPD, especially in her leadership roles as an out lesbian when very few LGBT people were in positions of power anywhere. She paved the way for a lot of us at the CPD. I will miss the fact that I will no longer have her as a confidant. If I ran into any problems or concerns she was my first call/text and now I will carry on that torch for her. All of us will keep your memory in our hearts, and your sense of humor and wisdom as our guides. We grieve with Commander Lipman's wife and the rest of her family."
"My fondness memories of Nancy were when we traveled to Sydney, Australia for the Gay Games IV in 2002," said longtime friend and CPD Information Services Division Bureau of Technical Services police officer Kathy Caldwell. "She was in awe. It was such an extremely powerful experience we shared together. We were so amazed that so many gay people were together celebrating at one major venue. Nancy was always up for fun and we took many long walks together watching all the different athletes and events that took place during Gay Games IV. Nancy and I spoke about this event and how great it would be if it came to the United States. Well low and be hold it was on the radar for Gay Games IIV. Then when Chicago won the bid we were in shock. She then asked questions like is the Gay Games IIV really going to come to Chicago.
"We then had the opportunity to work-volunteer for all the security during Gay Games IIV, through LGPA-GOAL organization the city and the Chicago Police Department working together to make this happen. Nancy was always willing to help out our LGPA-GOAL organization and she also rode the Pride Parade float every year with her wife Johanne. I will never forget her smile and kindness throughout our time together as our friendship flourished. Nancy always treated everyone equal and she worked well with all the community leaders. She will truly be missed in so many ways. Nancy was one of our communities very own out and proud people. May god bless your soul and you rest in peace."
"My wife Kathleen and I were close friends with Nancy and Johanne when we lived in Chicago," said longtime friend and retired Chicago Fire Department District Chief Pat Ciara. "Nancy and I met when she was a Lieutenant on the tactical team. We had someone trying to break into our house shortly after we moved in and her team responded. There was Nancy leading the charge, jumping our back fence which led into Dan Ryan woods. They caught the guy and he was charged with driving a stolen vehicle. Soon after she was promoted to Captain and we lost the protection of Nancy and her team. We however developed a strong relationship with the police. We became fast friends. She was such a hoot. We are heartbroken over her loss.
"Nancy came to visit us yesterday, by way of a gorgeous red Cardinal. It landed at my patio door and hopped back and forth, looking in. It tapped on the glass as I looked at it, as if to say, 'I am OK.' It also tried to look in our front living room window and landed on a solar flamingo we have in the flower garden. I will always remember the love you had for Johanne and your family, especially the grandkids. We had some great times, Commander. I will have wonderful memories. Love you, Chief."
Visitation will be held Saturday, April 24, 2-7 p.m., with the service of remembrance immediately following at Curley Funeral Home, 6116 W. 111th St., Chicago Ridge, with St. Jude League members participating. Current COVID-19 guidelines are to be observed by attendees including mask wearing and social distancing.
The family asks that memorials in Lipman's name should be sent to P.A.W.S., 8301 W. 191st St., Tinley Park, IL 60487; and/or the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, 1407 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL 60607.
People can also plant memorial trees through tinyurl.com/LipmanTree .