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.

2023 Maxine Rippe Award Recipient: Judy Kiess

Judy served as the Outreach Director at Holy Cross Lutheran Church since the retirement of Pastor Larry Merino. Her gracious choice to fulfill this position as a volunteer made it possible for Holy Cross to call another individual to work with youth and families, to assist with the growing number of young families attending the school.

Judy was responsible for coordinating the outreach efforts for both people in surrounding communities and people in select communities throughout the world. The goal has always been to connect non-believers in Jesus Christ in these communities to Him and the Holy Cross community.

In the neighborhood ministry, she continued to support and encourage existing ministries like Trunk-or-Treat, the North Anthony Corridor Block Party, and VBS. She expanded her community efforts to include partnerships with Just Neighbors Family Center for homeless families and Lifehouse Food Pantry.

In her broader outreach ministry, Judy fostered partnerships with New Life Lutheran Church and the Urban Outreach efforts of Pastor Lewis A. King to collect supplies and food for the communities they serve. She has launched a new partnership with Project 2:16 to pack and deliver meals to help alleviate food insecurity both regionally and around the world (including Ukrainian refugees). Judy also helped to coordinate mission teams to Slovakia for Gypsy Mission Outreach activities.

One of Judy's greatest gifts in her role was helping to keep the Holy Cross congregation informed of all the great outreach work that is taking place. This was accomplished through her regular articles in the newsletter and coordination of periodic Mission Spotlight presentations in worship.

Judy and her husband, Hank are humble people and personify the kind of lay leaders we need in today’s church, solid as rocks on doctrine with hearts of flesh for people in need of the Gospel. It seems when Judy and Hank are on the case…good things happen!

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

  • 2022 – Ellen Luepke 
  • 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.