Edward Tipper, one of the last remaining members of the famous “Band of Brothers” paratroopers, has died at the age of 95.
Tipper leaves behind a legacy as both a famous soldier and career teacher. He received a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service during World War II and D-Day. In 2011, the French government bestowed on him the French Legion of Honor medal, the country’s highest honor.
Tipper and his fellow brothers-in-arms were made famous by the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which told the story of the 101st Airborne Division’s Easy Company during World War II, from their first jump into German-occupied France on D-Day all the way to the end of the fight in the European theater.
Tipper was born in a working class Detroit neighborhood in 1921 and volunteered as a paratrooper shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He participated in the combat jump on Normandy on June 6, 1944, and the subsequent fight for the French town of Carentan. Tipper was hit by a mortar shell while clearing a house in the town, which cost him two broken legs and his right eye.
His daughter, Kerry Tipper, recalled that her father never gave in to his injuries, defying doctor’s warnings on what he could and could not do. Doctors gave him a list of activities he couldn’t do, such as driving and sports requiring depth perception. But for Edward Tipper, that became a checklist.
Tipper began his teaching career in Iowa, eventually returning to Colorado to teach English and literature. He also ran drama programs in Jefferson County, west of Denver.
After retirement in 1979, Edward Tipper began traveling and three years later he met and married his wife, Rosalina, in Costa Rica.
“We didn’t talk about the war,” Kerry wrote on Facebook. “His greatest sense of pride and accomplishment came from being a loving son to his mother. It came from his near 30 years of teaching. From his years traveling the world. And finally, from the 34 years he gave to his small, but adoring family.”
“So much of what people talk about with him is what he did in the war. That was two years and really six days starting on D-Day,” said Kerry. “Teaching was 30 years.”
The family will have a private burial this month at Fort Logan with full military honors. A public ceremony will be held June 1 in Lakewood. Those interested in attending are asked to send an e-mail [email protected].