In Character: Richard Lipsey

CONSIDERING, he has a tireless work ethic, an innate entrepreneurial streak and insatiable intellectual curiosity. He’s also a man of integrity. Just ask his friends.

CONSIDERING, his enterprises started early. At 10 years old, he convinced his father to let him sell Coca-Colas from an ice chest in front of his house to the workers who were transforming Stanford Avenue from a gravel road into a paved street.

CONSIDERING, as a teenager, he worked the floor at the family-owned store, Steinberg’s Sports Center, interacting with customers and selling outdoor merchandise. Retail came naturally to him, and he kept his enthusiasm for sales, though the 1980s’ sinking economy forced him to close the four retail stores that he owned.

CONSIDERING, with shrewd business sense, he purchased wholesale distributor S&S Sporting Goods in 1977, supplied his retail business and others, and then restructured the company in the late 1980s. Today, Lipsey’s Inc. is one of the largest wholesale firearms distributors in the country, with sales last year in the $100 million range.

CONSIDERING, he served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964, during which he was an aide to the top general for President John F. Kennedy. When he returned home, his father encouraged him to support the Boys Scouts. He has served on the local board since 1964, “even though I have two daughters,” he says with a laugh.

CONSIDERING, he credits both his parents for instilling in him a desire to give back. His father and mother were very involved in the community, and his mother helped found Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

CONSIDERING, he is passionate about personally supporting as well as fundraising for causes that are dear to his heart. He started the foundation for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in the early 1990s and has been on the center’s board of directors for many years. He has also served on the board of dozens of local charities and organizations, including Capital Area United Way, Congregation B’nai Israel and Tiger Athletic Foundation, the latter of which he founded. “I joke that my friends don’t want to see me coming, because they know that I’m going to ask them for something.”

CONSIDERING, in the days after Hurricane Katrina, he helped rescue as many as 80 people from the floodwaters by going by boat with a handful of volunteers, and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, into the hardest-hit areas in search of the stranded.

CONSIDERING, he has received numerous recognitions and awards, including the 2011 Golden Deeds Award, Outstanding Citizen in Baton Rouge from the Boys Scouts of America, and the Arthritis Foundation Award for Civic Achievement. He was also named the 2012 Hall of Fame Laureate by Business Report and Junior Achievement.

CONSIDERING, he has been married to Susan Lipsey for 48 years and has two daughters and three grandchildren. “Susan has been a great partner, and she’s also very involved. We’ve always helped each other with our obligations for the civic organizations we support. I’m thankful to be able to spend more time these days pursuing charitable work. It’s been a blessing.”