Van Riper

There's much to go in here, but for now, I'll just point out things regarding my own family.

In Brief

I am Joseph Edwards Van Riper III. My father is, of course, Joseph Edwards Van Riper Jr. and his father is Joseph Edwards Van Riper Sr. We're the three Joe's. My great grandfather is Paul Van Riper, the same Van Riper who practiced medicine in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and wound up with a state park in his name.

My grandfather has a brother, Charles Gage Van Riper, who became a noted speech therapist (for lack of a better term). Charles (known to us as Cully more than Charles) also had an interest in our heritage as Van Ripers, and did much of the research on our side of the family. He was able to figure out that we are descended from Jurriae Thommassen, who came to the United States on the Spotted Cow. Charles was also a stutterer. Regretfully, he died November, 1994. His brother (my grandfather) died July, 1996. Their sister, Dorothy, died a couple of months after my grandfather did.

Some background

Some folks might be interested in knowing that there really is a Van Riper State Park in Michigan (Upper Peninsula). It's a thriving park set up for folks who like to camp. You can find it somewhat near Champion, where Dr. Paul Van Riper practiced. Paul Van Riper had originally set up the park because some of the local ladies caught him near a favorite swimming hole changing into his swimwear.

My family owns some land up there... a large chunk of lake-front property near the Meade Lumber Company. We have three cabins (two of them made from logs, one is pre-fabricated) on the main lake, one of which adjoins a second lake. The woods are unspoiled.. we allow no logging, dirt bikes, or much of anything else that would spoil the woods to go up there. Our family has been using this piece of land as a prime vacation spot in the summer for decades.

In the mid-80's, some folks got together and decided to import moose from Canada. Moose used to be found in the Upper Peninsula, until uncontrolled hunting and logging killed them all off. There were two drop zones.. one in 1985, and another in 1987. The 1987 drop zone was located deep in our own property! As a result, very rarely, you can spot some moose in our area (although they've mostly gone to other places.. it's easier to see their tracks than the moose themselves).

Of course, Dr. Paul Van Riper is responsible for having the foresight to purchase the land up there for our use today. In his day, men had to be tough.. especially to do the sort of gruelling work he had to do. It was mining and logging country (and still is, for the most part). Sometimes, mines cave in, or logs fall on people. Dr. Van Riper saw the worst and the best of these situations, since he was the only medical doctor in the region.

Dr. Paul Van Riper

Dr. Van Riper gained a reputation for being particularly tough. He was known for having an almost sadistic sense of humor, and a very rough approach to medicine at times. By way of example, one of his favorite tricks was to remind a patient who was significantly delinquent on his payments to the doctor about those payments just prior to giving a shot (with his squarest needle, of course).

His favorite form of government was the benevolent dictatorship. He was a prominent politician in the Upper Peninsula in his own right, strongly influencing politics in the area. Despite his gruff exterior, he had a good heart, and genuinely wanted to help people. He just didn't want to show it much.

Paul was not interested in much of anything but medicine and the woods, as best as I can figure it. Looking through old pictures, I find that I look very much like him.

Dr. Charles Gage Van Riper

Charles Van Riper (Cully to me, perhaps Charles Gage to other folks who have read any of his books) fathered the field of speech pathology. Charles was a stutterer, and a pretty terrible one at that. He had a miserable childhood in that country, between his rough-and-tough dad and local superstition about stutterers.

Charles started the field of speech pathology almost out of desperation. He had tried several so-called 'schools' for stutterers, but they were all rip-offs. Nobody had actually taken the trouble to learn about stuttering, so nobody knew how to cure it.

Ironically, while Charles helped several people overcome their stuttering, he was unable to cure himself. His form of stuttering was entirely physiological, resulting from a crossing of his nerves somewhere. He never accepted payment for helping folks overcome their speech defects (he went on to study other forms of speech problems), earning his money from writing books, and from teaching speech pathology. Despite his stuttering, he has spoken to millions of people all over the world, to help speech pathologists.

Charles wrote his Northwoods Reader Series up until a few years ago.. almost until he died. He had a gift for writing imaginatively, and captured the feeling of the land and the people of that land through his Northwoods Reader books. They're all over the place in the Upper Peninsula, but the least expensive place I've seen for them is in the Marquette airport (at about $11 a book). You can also try to get them through Avery Publishing.

Dr. Joseph Edwards Van Riper, Sr.

Joseph Van Riper, Charles' brother, who knew the real stories behind each story in the Northwoods Reader, sometimes become frustrated with Charles' liberties. Joseph was more of a historian, extremely concerned with facts and figures, than an imaginative soul. He became a reputable professor of geology and geography, writing a couple of books called Man's Physical World. They were more textbooks than anything else, but successful in their own right.

Joseph has traveled all over the world, several times, in his studies of geography. He had a keen interest in plants, rocks, and shells, often classifying them with incredible fastidiousness. He also took billions of pictures.. he donated his vast collection of slides, all annotated so one could know where the photo was taken, and what might be significant about the photo, to a university somewhere (probably the University of Michigan, but I'm honestly not sure). His rather significant shell collection also found itself donated to a university.

Which brings us to another point about Joseph.. he strongly believed in education. He did as much as possible to support education in any way he could. In fact, our family asks that, if you know him, and you wish to send flowers or anything to him (due to his recent death), please, instead, donate money to your local educational institution. He would appreciate that far more than anything else.

Dorothy Van Riper

I don't really know much about Dorothy. She lived in the Upper Peninsula. She died, shortly after my grandfather (1996). I think she's a strong musician, but I'm not sure. I've heard more stories about the male Van Ripers than the female ones.

John Van Riper

Charles had a son, John Van Riper, who works in the trucking industry (at least, last I heard). John has two sons and two daughters.. Jamie, John, Jody, & Julie (I think.. I don't remember this side of the family as well). Amusingly, everyone (include Judy, the wife) in that family has the same initials.. JVR.

Joseph Edwards Van Riper, Jr.

Joseph had a son, Joseph, Jr. (did I point out that he wasn't as imaginative as Charles?) who is my father. Joseph Jr. (e-mail) works as an audio technician and free-lance voice talent in Charlotte, North Carolina, out of Jay Howard Production Audio (a studio with 5 ISDN lines and enough high-tech gadgetry to make professionals scream for business there). He's also an extremely capable writer.

Long, long ago, my father worked as a folk-singer in Texas. I don't remember the name of his band, but they had been offered a chance to sing on The Tonight Show, but they turned it down in favor of college.

Dad studied enough college to become a professor, but became a disc-jockey for a Texas radio station instead. I think he earned his degree in English (although theater was his interest.. just couldn't get a degree in it at the time), but he also had a strong background in political sciences. He had considered working in an embassy or something, but changed his mind.

Dad had gotten a D in geography.. something his father, the geography professor, wouldn't stand for. "No son of mine is going to get a D in geography." With that, Dad had to retake the course, getting an A. It's particularly ironic, since Dad helped type Grandfather's books.

Dad claims the D came from a professor who was a rival to my grandfather, and saw a chance to get back at him for something. Weird, to think of dueling professors. So much for objective schooling.

Dad had hit upon tough times recently, but he went through it like a champ.

Laura Christine Van Riper

Dad had two children.. myself, and my sister, Christy (who prefers to go by 'Kris'). While you're already able to get whatever information about myself you want from these html documents, my sister can be found in Charlotte, North Carolina. Christy has a degree in history, and was thinking about becoming a registered nurse. She's got some of grandfather's anal retentiveness, but none of his clumsiness. A quick-thinker, Christy has a kind of wit that could keep you on your toes. She's a holy terror in an office, possessing strongly logical thinking skills that works quite well in an office, especially with her penchant for organization. She worked in Boone, but didn't earn as much as she might elsewhere. She didn't want to leave Boone, since it's such a pretty area of the country, but its economy forces her to move to Charlotte.

She's now doing her own thing with Websight Managers. Basically, she makes web pages for folks, and maintains them on an ongoing basis.

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