Continuing the Husky Cycling theme on a bit of a different note….
Dr. Greg Lipski was a former UW collegiate cyclist and volunteer coach for Husky Cycling who died May 31, 2010 at age 42 after a long battle with leukemia and complications from treatment. Dr. Lipski had a remarkable life story which included being an officer on a Trident submarine, earning a Masters degree in engineering, working on the first unmanned aircraft to cross the Atlantic, and a medical degree at University of Washington.
The Seattle Times and P-I did some great stories about him as he was going through treatment:
Greg Lipski’s e-mail log to his classmates
To honor Dr. Lipski, a memorial bench was recently installed along the Burke Gilman Trail. His friend Mark Roughgarden set up a memorial fund to finance the bench, and Mark, another friend Ian Horton, and his widow Dr. Erin Currin worked with Seattle Parks to get approval. The bench is located where NE 60th St intersects with the Burke Gilman Trail, on the west/north side of the trail.
Dr. Lipski started cycling with rides like STP and competing in triathlons. When he started grad school at UW to work on his Masters degree he joined the collegiate team and worked at Gregg’s Greenlake.
As a member of Husky Cycling he demonstrated strength in road racing, mtb racing and track racing. After he graduated he became Husky Cycling’s track coach, and he played a key role in helping the Huskies win the overall team national title in 1996 at Marymoor. He was also a certified US Cyling referee and helped put on Wednesday night beginner and master races during the 1996 season.In addition to racing, Dr. Lipski had a passion for long rides like RAMROD as well as long epic mtb rides. His cycling buddies, mostly from Husky Cycling, included Paul Johnson, Tom Knapton, Ta Harrera, Ben Jacobsen, Randy Boetcher, Jennie Reed, Shawn McGuire, Dax Richey, Tim “Busto” Ericksen, Andy Ericksen, Terry Buchanan, and Mark Roughgarden.
He also loved to snowboard, surf and he climbed local peaks including Rainier, Adams and Mt St Helens.
Mark Roughgarden told me that in the gloomy depths of his treatment, Dr. Lipski inspired him to re-start racing bikes after a 9-year hiatus. Mark had been putting off getting back into racing because he knew it would be hard to get into shape, but Greg inspired him to realize “that you may not have the health or time to do it any time in the future and that you need to go for it.”
To emphasize Dr. Lipski’s positive contribution to those around him, Mark said this at his funeral:
“Greg’s house was a social gathering point. Even when there was work to do, and he needed friends help. It was just an excuse to be there more often. One summer we spent a week rebuilding his roof. It was really a week long social gathering with power tools and beer.
Greg really became an older brother to me. There wasn’t anything I couldn’t ask or consult with him about. He would always listen. He would give me his thoughts and directions, but not in a “this is right or wrong” way a parent might. He would do it in a really considerate and caring way.”The next time you find yourself toodling down the Burke Gilman, keep an eye out for the Dr. Lipski Bench, and think about what a positive effect he had on those around him.