Gary Neil Sipkoff was born November 30, 1950, in York, PA, and died on July 1, 2018, at his home in Marietta, PA.
He was the son of Wilda and Saul Sipkoff and second of four brothers, Martin, Jeffrey, and David.
He is survived by a daughter, Leslie Spangler, a granddaughter Karleah, both who reside in Florida, and a nephew Benjamin Sipkoff. While Gary is the last survivor of his immediate family, he had a close network of friends whom he considered family: Jeannie Brillhart, Mary Sipkoff, Robin and Dick Fields, Bill Hillegas, Lauryn Beltz and the Beltz family, Milt Strickler, and Craig Gehosky.
Gary’s life was marked by service. He earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University and worked as a psychotherapist and trainer in social services for over 30 years. Throughout his career, Gary was highly respected for his extraordinary clinical skills and unique perspective on life. He was a mentor to many who sought him out to better understand themselves and spiritual aspects of life. While his teachings were diverse and comprehensive, he was known to profess two simple, but critical aspects of life: don’t feel sorry for yourself, and don’t blame anyone (even yourself).
In addition to his career in social services, Gary was an accomplished musician, playing guitar and singing throughout his adult life. He said that music for him was a form of meditation and that in the end he “became the music.” Those who were blessed to have known him would agree Gary “was the music” -- he had a truly profound and life changing influence.
Social service and music were only vehicles of Gary’s spiritual journey. He embodied love and compassion and accepted the profound hardships in his life with a grace so unique and genuine that it was both beautiful and humbling. His journey included years of meditation, practice, service, and suffering that enabled him to evolve into a light that shined a path for many through his example and teachings.
While the feelings of loss are profound, comfort can be found in a comment Gary shared towards the end. “I am not going anywhere, I’ll still be here”. Thank you, Gary, for everything you did for us. We are forever grateful.
Gary often said that you have two families, the one you are born into, and another that you choose.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
11:00 am till we all go home...
Lake Redman, Muskie Pavilion
William H. Kain County Park, York, Pennsylvania
Please bring a covered dish and pictures of Gary to share,
And bring some of your best stories,
And musicians with instruments most very welcome!