Franklin R. Cripps Aug. 30, 1934 - July 31, 2014 NILES - There was a joyous reunion in heaven on July 31 when Franklin R. Cripps got to wrap his beloved wife Dixie Lee in one of his giant bear hugs. He is again happy, healthy and ready to serve. Frank was born August 30, 1934 in Smithville, TN to James & Lula Cripps. He grew up farming, hunting and learning the value of hard work with his brother Charles Stanton. He loved to call square dances, work on cars and cause enough trouble to create fun. He moved to Niles, MI after graduating from high school where he met Dixie Lee Riggenbach, the love of his life. In 1958 he joined the US Army and served in Germany. Together they toured Europe in a VW Bug until their return to the states to settle down and start a family. Frank worked as an electrician at Tyler Refrigeration for most of his career. The great joy in his life was his family. He would drop everything to come and repair whatever his daughters Tammy (Digirolamo) and Lisa (Cripps-Downey) had broken. He spent countless hours watching his grandchildren Matthew Digirolamo, Joseph (Evelyn) Digirolamo, Keegan Downey and Zoe Downey play football, basketball, softball, soccer, swim, do theater and make art. He loved to cheer for them and give them the "thumbs up" when they looked his way. His sons-in-law Fred Digirolamo and Bill Downey were his sons. In 2011, life changed drastically when Dixie lost her battle with cancer. But, Frank was made of sheer courage and he continued to build a life knowing that because of his faith - he would see her again. He moved to Stevensville and began fixing up a new house and continued to love his family fiercely. He gardened, hunted and honed his skills as a woodcrafter and carver. The funeral service for Frank Cripps will be at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, August 4, 2014 at the First Baptist Church of Niles with Pastor Jim Wing officiating assisted by Pastor Phil Bubar of The Chapel Evangelical Free Church in Saint Joseph, Michigan. Committal will be at Mission Hills, and will conclude with Full Military Honors by the United States Army Honor Guard and American Legion Post #51. The family will receive relatives and friends from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles. Frank leaves behind a family who loved him to the moon and back and a legacy of strength, simple faith and giant smiles. He will be forever missed. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Forgotten Man Ministries of Berrien County or The Pregnancy Care Center in Niles. www.halbritterfunerals.com
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HALBRITTER FUNERAL HOME
615 E MAIN ST Niles, MI 49120
Published in South Bend Tribune on Aug. 2, 2014