Maxine Rippe

The Maxine Rippe Award recognizes an individual whose past and present service to the Allen County community exemplifies Christian compassion. Administered by The Lutheran Foundation, it is one of four monetary awards given annually through the Raymond Rosenberger Award Foundation. Scroll down to read more about selection criteria.

2022 Maxine Rippe Award Recipient: Ellen Luepke

Ellen Luepke, former director of care ministries at Concordia Lutheran Church, has been selected by The Lutheran Foundation as the recipient of the 2022 Maxine Rippe Award. The Maxine Rippe Award is given annually to recognize an individual whose past and present service to the Allen County community exemplifies Christian compassion by alleviating human suffering.

Luepke was instrumental in starting the care ministry at Concordia Lutheran, as well as enhancing the Stephen Ministry and the OWLS group. But what makes her a standout is her devotion to caring for others in individual and personal ways. She arranged to get people to doctors’ appointments, even if that meant taking them herself and sitting in on appointment as a second set of ears. She has helped many individuals transition from their home to assisted living. For Luepke, it is second-nature to come alongside people, getting to know them and gaining their trust, eventually providing personalized care and companionship when people are in the most need.

“I have known Ellen for more than 30 years,” said Marcia Haaff, president and CEO of The Lutheran Foundation. “Her family and mine both attended Concordia Lutheran Church. Ellen is passionate about what she does no matter what it is and she is very patient and kind. She is transparent. She can talk and relate to everyone, and she always has a smile on her face. I’ve witnessed this myself: she never hesitates when someone needs extra care. She gives it willingly and happily with a joyful heart and does not expect anything in return.”

After Luepke retired as Director of Care Ministries from Concordia Lutheran Church, she and her husband Don moved to Clear Lake in Fremont, Ind. They currently worship at Peace Lutheran Church in Fremont, where she teaches a Thursday morning Bible study.

History of the Maxine Rippe Award

A longtime member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and a Kunkle Valve employee, Mr. Rosenberger lived frugally and invested nearly all of his income. At his passing, his estate established a foundation that funds four individual service awards, each granted by a different local northeastern Indiana organization. The Rosenberger Award Foundation funds The Lutheran Foundation’s Maxine Rippe Award, along with annual awards given by Parkview Hospital, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, and the United Way of Allen County. Each of the four awards recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding community service on behalf of a local charitable organization.

This award was named in memory of Maxine Rippe to honor those who are dedicated to serving their community and alleviating human suffering. Maxine was a student at the Lutheran School of Nursing when she died of polio in 1940. She was a graduate of South Side High School and a member of the National Honor Society. A member of Trinity English Lutheran Church, Maxine sang in the choir at the church, was a past queen of Fort Wayne Bethel of Job’s Daughters, and served several local civic organizations. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Rippe, she was engaged to Dr. Lad Zeman of Chicago. Maxine was just six months shy of graduating and a few months from becoming a bride when she passed away at the age of 20 at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.

Selection Criteria

Qualified Maxine Rippe Award nominees have demonstrated exceptional service—either as a volunteer or as an employee—to a local Allen County charitable organization that alleviates human suffering, promotes wellness, or enhances quality of life for those suffering from illness or injury. In keeping with the goals of the Rosenberger Award Foundation, the annual award typically exceeds $10,000 and is meant to encourage lifelong community involvement. The recognized recipient is selected from the submitted nominees to receive the cash award. Qualified nominees:

  • Have performed diligent and faithful service on behalf of a tax-exempt, charitable Allen County organization that works to alleviate human suffering, enhance the quality of life of persons afflicted with illness or injury, or promote wellness through the prevention of illness, disease or injury.
  • Have displayed extraordinary devotion to furthering the organization’s objectives.
  • Have encouraged others to serve the organization and further its objectives.
  • Have served or currently serves the organization either as an employee or a volunteer.

Previous Award Recipients

  • 2021 – Chaplain Leslie Haines
  • 2020 – The Reverend Jon Anderson
  • 2019 – Mike Buhr
  • 2018 – Cheryl Brockman
  • 2017 – Elvis Netterville
  • 2016 – Martha Weber
  • 2015 – Bernice Ostermeyer
  • 2014 – Dr. Saneta Maiko
  • 2013 – Pat Patton
  • 2012 – Margarete Matiszik
  • 2011 – Roger and Carrie Macke
  • 2010 – Vivian Purvis
  • 2009 – Martin “Bud” Scheimann
  • 2008 – Roland and Marian Masenthin
  • 2007 – The Reverend Vernon Graham
  • 2006 – Thelma Heine
  • 2005 – Robert and Ramona Scheimann
  • 2004 – William and Betterae Ihssen
  • 2003 – Richard and Doris Hagen
  • 2002 – Earl and Irma Dressler
  • 2001 – Merle Altstiel
  • 2000 – Norma Hartman
  • 1999 – Annette Diemer

Making a Nomination

The Maxine Rippe Award is based on past and present achievements and is not meant to reflect future service. Once the award is granted, no restrictions or conditions are placed upon the use of the monetary award. Nominations must not come from a nominee’s immediate family. PNC Bank employees or their spouses are not eligible for the award.

To nominate an individual, please complete the nomination form and describe why he or she deserves a nomination. Your statement should clearly indicate the specific services your nominee has performed, and how those services have furthered the goals of a particular charitable organization.

Nomination deadline is February 28 at noon.

For questions, email Terri Kortokrax, or call (260) 458-2110.