The Life of ALFONSO C LIPAWEN
Alfonso C. Lipawen, 86, passed away on February 4, 2021 in his Spring Township residence after a four-year battle with stage IV lung cancer. He had received excellent care from the McGlinn Cancer Institute and the entire Reading Hospital/Tower Health medical system. He was the beloved husband of Guia Sison Lipawen (formerly of Queens, NY) to whom he had been married for 48 years. Born in Manila, Philippines, he was the son of the late Doroteo R. and Consuelo G. (Castro) Lipawen. He was nine years old when his father Doroteo, a soldier in the Philippine Army, died in the death march of Bataan during the Japanese occupation of World War II. Alfonso became the head of the family, and he helped his schoolteacher mother raise his younger sister Bella. His mother instilled in him the value of a good education, and despite a difficult childhood, he was able to put himself through college. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at MAPUA University (Institute of Technology, Architecture & Engineering) in Manila. His first job as an electrical engineer was with Meralco, the largest electrical distribution utility company in the Philippines. In 1965, a group of engineers from Gilbert Associates, an engineering services firm in Reading, PA, visited Meralco. The opportunity for Alfonso to immigrate to the United States came when Gilbert Associates offered him a job as part of a one-year pilot program. In 1967, they made the position permanent, and for the next 30 years he was an electrical engineer with a specialty in building nuclear power plants. He was a part of multiple construction projects worldwide, and his assignments included Kansai (Japan) Electric Power Company, Korea Electric Company, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company, Virginia Electric Company, the US Air Force Ballistic Missile Office, and PP&L Electric Company in Allentown, PA. In February 1976, he was part of a team sent to the Ohi Nuclear Station in Japan to work with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Now married and with two children (five-month old Patrick and three-year old Mark), he brought his family, and they lived in Japan for the duration of the 18 month project. Alfonso was a loving father who was active in their mental, physical, and spiritual upbringing. He also advised his sons in their schoolwork and class projects. He helped his son Mark attain the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of the local Boy Scout Troop 430. He played tennis with them until he developed tennis elbow. With careful financial planning, he was able to afford to send both of his sons to prestigious four-year universities. He was a member of St. Margaret Church near downtown Reading before he was married. After he got married, he and his wife relocated to Spring Township and joined St. Ignatius Loyola Church in 1973. Their sons were baptized, confirmed, received first communion, attended CCD, and served as altar boys at St. Ignatius. He was active in volunteer work with his wife at the parish: they ran the Oriental Food stand during the summer parish festival for five years; they were committee members for the parish’s annual New Year’s Eve Party for five years; and then they helped organize the annual parish picnic at Green Valley Country Club for five years. After he retired at the age of 65, he volunteered as a math tutor for the Reading Area Community College GED program for 15 years. He and his wife were volunteer tax preparers for the elderly and low-income families for 17 years. For the fun part of retired life, he and his wife traveled the world. They visited France, Russia, Rome, Hawaii, England, Scotland, Ireland, Alaska, and the Panama Canal, and they also sailed several east, west, and south Caribbean cruises with Royal Caribbean. Closer to home, they joined the local Fun N Friends Ballroom Dance club for five years. In addition to his wife, Alfonso is survived by his two sons, Mark Michael of Panama City, FL, married to Bridget (King) and Patrick Joseph of Clifton Heights, PA. Other survivors are his sister Bella C., widow of Guillermo Valeña, of Columbia, SC, and his nieces, Michelle V. of Newport News, VA, married to Dr. John Brady, and Myra V. of Boston, MA, married to Scott Padgett. There are four grandnephews, two grandnieces and two step-granddaughters. A viewing will be held at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Sinking Spring, PA on Wednesday, February 10 at 9:00 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10:00 a.m., also at St. Ignatius. Please wear a mask and follow social-distancing guidelines. The public is invited to livestream the viewing and Mass by going to www.kuhnfuneralhomes.com. Click on Alfonso’s obituary, click on Photos & Videos, and then click on Watch Webcast. Entombment will be in a mausoleum at Gethsemane Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the McGlinn Cancer Institute at Reading Hospital/Tower Health and St. Ignatius Loyola Church. The Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, West Reading, is assisting with arrangements.