Obituary of Bradley Van Riper
Bradley C. Van Riper, 64, of Gerry, passed away Friday May 4, 2018 in UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital.
He was born February 17, 1954 in Ithaca, NY the son of Leo and Jean Foster Van Riper.
Brad was a 1972 graduate of Spencer Van Etten High School. He attended SUNY Delhi for 1 year before enlisting in the US Navy, serving 4 years as a Machinists Mate. After his Honorable Discharge from the Navy, he graduated from Jamestown Community College with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology.
Brad was always ambitious. He worked many jobs as he was growing up. He sold vegetable seeds door to door, trimmed Christmas trees at a Christmas tree farm, worked at a chicken farm and did other farming jobs, did landscaping and he assisted his Grandpa Foster in his funeral home business. Brad had a 40 year career at Truck-Lite. Brad accomplished something in his years of working at Truck-Lite that no one else has ever achieved. He started his career as a maintenance technician in May 1978, and worked his way up through 10 different positions within the company to become the senior vice president and chief technology officer. The reason that Brad was able to continually advance in the company is that he had a god-given self-confidence that he could be successful at any new position in the company. Brad had a passion for the lighting industry and always enjoyed working at Truck-Lite. While Brad was working at Truck-Lite, he travelled extensively for his job racking up over 1 million miles of flying. Brad was a huge impact on the lighting industry, was awarded several patents for his ideas, and he did a lot of development which introduced the first LEDs used in the industry. He was involved in a number of lighting industry groups, where he distinguished himself by contributing new ideas for products and standards to help make the highways safer.
Two weeks before passing away, he received 2 life time achievement awards, one from Truck-Lite, and the other from the Transportation Safety and Equipment Institute. The Truck-Lite award was presented for his life long dedication to shaping the transportation lighting industry. His enduring vision , passion for innovation and commitment to safety and education encompass the true spirit of leadership and service.
Brad was also involved in many community groups. Such as the children's safety village, the Chautauqua County Highway Traffic Safety Board, and the manufacturing technology institute board at J.C.C. to name a few. Brad was very passionate at serving as the executive director of the Links Charity golf tournament which benefits cancer care at UPMC Chautauqua W.C.A hospital. He served over 10 years in that capacity and discovered new ways to involve more people and to increase the donations.
Brad was a huge sports fan of all kinds, especially his favorite football team the New York Giants, as well as the Buffalo Bills. His favorite baseball team was the Baltimore Orioles. He also was a diehard Syracuse basketball and football fan. He thoroughly enjoyed the years he played high school sports, such as football, baseball and basketball. He was quite a fisherman for many years which included some time ice fishing on the Chautauqua lake. Brad loved the game of golf and he had the privilege of playing at some of the nicest courses across the country while traveling for work, and he even got to play in China at a large golf course under the lights. Another hobby he excelled in was photography.
Most important to him were God and his faith. Brad made a decision to receive Christ as a young boy at summer camp. He loved God and he endeavored to honor God with how he lived his life. Brad attended Levant Wesleyan Church for many years serving in many ways and also attended Family Church, as well as Bemus Point United Methodist Church.
Brad lived life with commitment in all he did. He was a fun loving person with a good sense of humor and he loved to share a good story, but most of all he loved spending time with his family.
Surviving are his mother Jean of Spencer, NY; his wife, Rebecca Chamberlain Van Riper with whom he would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary June 24, 2018; two sons, Christopher Adam Van Riper of Tampa, FL; Aaron Matthew Van Riper (Kellyn) of Charlotte, NC; one grandson, Waylon Van Riper of Charlotte; two brothers, Jeffrey Van Riper (Joy) and their two sons Jason and Jeremy of Farmington, NY; Timothy Van Riper (Tammy) of Geneva, NY; two sisters, Abigal Ellison (Jeffrey) and their daughter Jaime, and Juliete Kelley (Steve) all of Lockwood, NY.
He was preceded in death by his father Leo, and a brother Gregory.
The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Bemus Point United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at the church from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday and from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and for one hour prior to the service Tuesday.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorials in Brad's name be given to LINKS Charity to help fight cancer in the Jamestown area, an organization he was passionate about for many years; or the Bemus Point United Methodist Church, 4954 Bemus-Ellery Road, Bemus Point, NY 14712.
The Lind Family and associates wish to express our deep gratitude for the confidence, friendship and trust you have placed in us. We are honored to be of service to you and pledge to continue to serve to the best of our ability, with professional care and genuine concern each time we are called.
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