The last survivor of the family that brought America the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, has died in Hershey. Rose A. (Reese) Rippon died peaceably at home on Nov. 12, 2016, with family members at her side. Rose lived her entire life in Hershey.
Her father Harry Burnett Reese invented the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in his basement and founded the H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1923. That company was acquired by the then-named Hershey Chocolate Company in 1963. Mr. Reese and his wife Blanche had 16 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood, of which Rose was the youngest daughter, born Jan. 16, 1921.
Rose attended Hershey High School, graduating in 1939. Milton Snavely Hershey, inventor of the Hershey Bar and founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, was a philanthropist who established the private Milton Hershey School. Mr. Hershey had the practice of attending the graduation ceremony of the public Hershey High School, which were and still are held at The Hershey Theatre. Rose liked to share the anecdote that, at her commencement of which she was the Valedictorian, when her name was announced, Mr. Hershey put his glasses back on to take a closer look at the daughter of his friend, H.B. Reese.
Rose married Donald J. Rippon of Jermyn, Pa., who was a graduate of the Pennsylvania State Police Academy. Rose and Donald raised seven children, five boys and two girls, each of whom survives: H. James Rippon, Charles W. "Bill" Rippon, Thomas R. Rippon, Rosemarie Blanche (Rippon) Prete, Timothy J. Rippon, Rebecca A. (Rippon) Hilgers and David J. Rippon. Rose is also survived by her son -in-law, Roland Hilgers, 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Rose survived her eight brothers and eight sisters.
Rose had her hands full raising seven children and perhaps showed her love best by cooking and baking up a storm. In fact, her sticky buns were in high demand and famously known all over Hershey as "Rosie's Rolls." Baking and distributing the rolls was a Rippon family tradition.
Rose was also a graduate of the Franklin School of Science and Arts in Philadelphia. She worked as a phlebotomist at the original Hershey Hospital, the Polyclinic Hospital and at Penn State Hershey Medical Center after it opened later in her medical career. She went from examining blood cells under a microscope to processing blood using a laser-based machine that assisted with diagnosis.
Rose was an avid bridge player and golfer. One year Rose won the Women's Championship in golf at the Hershey Country Club. She was known for hitting her drives consistently straight down the fairway and for two-putting. She was also a member of the Club's Curling Team.
All of Rose's children were athletes or cheerleaders and Rose enjoyed supporting them at their games and in their other school and community activities.
Rose was a vivacious lover of life. She was a loyal member of the Hershey Italian Lodge and often ate dinner there and loved socializing with her many friends there. Rose also was an enthusiastic patron of the Iberian Lounge at The Hotel Hershey, and went there to dance with her husband "Rip."
Rose loved red roses, as well as the night of the full moon; she basked in its radiance, and fittingly passed away in white radiance as the full moon arose.
Rose was a member of the Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church and held a strong faith in God.
A public visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Hoover Funeral Home in Hershey. A funeral Mass will be held at Saint Joan of Arc Church in Hershey at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Rose supported many civic and charitable organizations and would go door-to-door raising funds for these groups in her Palmdale neighborhood.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in her honor to the Penn State Children's Hospital (Children's Miracle Network).
Published on November 17, 2016