By profession, David A. Kipper was a
clinical psychologist who, since 1995, held the position of Research
Professor of Psychology at Roosevelt University's School of Psychology.
His particular interests in the field involved role playing,
psychodrama, small groups, experimental therapy, psychological trauma
and the relation between emotional arousal and action.
It is in that latter category that an
important key to Kipper's character can be found, for along with his
wife, Barbara Levy Kipper, he was a passionate fan of dance. The couple
rarely missed a performance by the Joffrey Ballet, and invariably you
could see the glow of appreciation and pride on their faces following
the company's opening night performances.
Mr. Kipper's love of the Joffrey Ballet
dated back several decades, and was rooted in the deep friendship that
existed between Robert Joffrey and Ruth Levy, Barbara Kipper's mother.
In the 1990s, David and Barbara Kipper were among a group of Chicagoans
that also included Bruce Sagan and Fred Eychaner, who were determined to
move the then financially troubled dance company from its longtime home
in New York to Chicago, and to assure that the troupe would become one
of the jewels in this city's cultural crown.
Mr. Kipper, who served as president of
the Joffrey board from 1992-98, as director of its Executive Committee
from 1990-98, and was named its "Life Director' in 1998, died Thursday
night in home hospice care, surrounded by his wife, his two daughters -
Talia Kipper Ausiello of New Jersey and Tamar Jacoby of Chicago - and
his sister, Nina Gruner, of Israel. He was 71. Mr. Kipper had been
suffering from Merkel Cell carcinoma for nearly two years.
"David became involved with the Joffrey
through Barbara," said Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey
Ballet, who is in St. Louis this week, where the company is performing
'The Nutcracker.' But once the decision was made that the Joffrey's
future was to be in Chicago, he really took it upon himself to spearhead
that future. And both he and Barbara did all they could to stabilize
the company, with the trucks from Barbara's company [Chas. Levy Company,
LLC, a major distributor of magazines and books in the U.S.], moving us
lock, stock and barrel from New York to Chicago. The two of them were
just incredibly generous to us in many ways.
"Even this fall, when he was quite ill,
he came to our Balanchine-Robbins-Wheeldon program at the Auditorium,
and told me how much he loved it."
Mr. Kipper, who was born in Tel Aviv,
Israel, received his undergraduate degree in psychology at Israel's Bar
Ilan University and earned his doctorate at the University of Durham in
England. He began his academic career at Bar Ilan, and while at the
university co-founded the school's Diploma in Music Therapy.
Prior to his appointment as professor at Roosevelt University, Kipper was associated with the University of Chicago.
Mr. Kipper, who was widely published in
professional journals, served as a consultant to management in business
and industry. In addition to the Joffrey, he was involved with the
Anti-Defamation League, the America-Jewish Congress, the America-Israel
Cultural Foundation and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
"This is a tremendous loss for the city
and me personally," said Fred Eychaner, current chairman of the Joffrey
board. "David dared to dream the impossible dream of establishing a
world-class ballet company in our city. My solace is that he lived to
see the Joffrey flourish."
Wheater, who noted that one of the three
main studios in the Joffrey Tower - the company's handsome permanent
home in the Loop - was named for the Kippers, recalled that David's
psychological training had a practical application early in his own
tenure at the Joffrey.
"He was very helpful in telling me not
to panic about the state of things," said Wheater. "He reminded me that
the company had come a long way already, and though it was more than a
half century old, it really was still a baby in terms of its life in
In addition to his wife, daughters and sister, Mr. Kipper is survived by two grandchildren, Anya Rose and Eli.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m.
Sunday at Anshe Emmet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway. Donations in Dr.
Kipper's name should be made to the Joffre
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