Benjamin Roger Hippe, 86, died on April 1, 2021 at Mayo Clinic Hospital (St. Marys) in Rochester, Minn. He was born on July 14, 1934 to Ben and Jenny Hippe and was raised in Edgerton, Wis., with three sisters and two brothers. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in August 1956 and reported for duty as a U.S. Naval Officer on board the destroyer USS Boyd home ported in San Diego, Calif. In December 1956, he married Ruth Ann (Sue) Towns in Fulton, Wis., and returned to San Diego to complete his naval service including three cruises to the Western Pacific. Ben attended law school at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1962. He then moved to Rochester to begin his legal career at Mayo Clinic. Ben and Sue raised three children, Daniel (Barbara) of Oakton, Va., Sara Staab (Jeffrey) of Rochester, Minn., and Eric (Susan) of Monument, Colo.
Ben served as Legal Counsel on the Staff of Mayo Clinic for 34 years. At the time of his retirement in 1996, his colleagues expressed “their esteem and gratitude for his lifelong love of medicine, expertise in health law, compassionate and empathic handling of legal cases, and establishment and diligent supervision of insurance programs affecting all Mayo Foundation.”
Ben was active in Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester, Minn., where he served on the church council, and in Bar Associations in Minnesota. He also taught legal courses at William Mitchell (now Mitchell-Hamline) School of Law in St. Paul, Minn.
Over many years, Ben and his family enjoyed outdoor activities in all four seasons; collecting maple sap in spring, gardening in summer, cutting firewood in fall and cross-country skiing in winter. Ben is remembered fondly for his “irrepressible laugh” and, with Sue, for their wonderful graciousness in hosting celebrations for family, friends and colleagues at their home in Evergreen Acres outside of Rochester. After retirement, Ben and Sue moved to Fountain Hills where they continued their hospitality. Ben also enjoyed hiking in the desert with friends and traveling with Sue by RV across the Midwest, Western U.S., and Alaska.
Ben was preceded in death by his wife, Sue, in October 2020. He also was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters, Gladys and Audrey, and his brothers, Roland and Kenneth. He is survived by his sister, Marlys (Mike) Anderson, his three children and their spouses, and six grandchildren.
A joint celebration of life is planned for Ben and Sue in Rochester, Minn. in August 2021. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to charities of donors’ choice.