The Lipman family – its patriarch and five sons and sons-in-law – already established a thriving produce business on the East Coast of Florida. When advent of civilization and overcrowding became too much, they reestablished their operation in Collier County, centering their offices and building housing for themselves in the city of Immokalee, where no Jews have lived before. Still in operation, some 70 years later, they are one of the largest produce growers in North America.
They are a family that had contributed many Jewish firsts in Collier County – first Jewish teacher in Immokalee, first Jewish wedding in Lehigh Acres, founding members of Temple Shalom, first bar miztvah in Collier County – the list is long.
But the Lipman family list of contributions to the general population of the county is significantly longer. They’ve helped provide employment, housing, education, legalization to thousands of people over the years, They are charitable and good business people. They have raised several generations of their own family in the community they love that loves them back. Isn’t it the way things should always be?
Gloria Lipman was a widow of one of the sons and Bill Lipman was the last of the sons, who made the move to the West Coast. They resided in the Carlisle Retirement home when we interviewed them for this film.
Bill had a breezing problem and could not speak for long.
“Would you like to see my flyer photo?” he asked and we slowly walked to his apartment, where he pulled this picture off the wall as if he was still in his 20s when he was a pilot proudly serving his country.
“And now I can show you my wife and grandchildren.” When the camera wasn’t rolling, he talked and talked and tired himself so that we could not continue the session.
“Next time,” I said when we left. But there was no next time.