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Joan E. Gipp, teacher, environmental activist

June 24, 1929 – Dec. 30, 2015

LEWISTON – Joan E. Gipp, a teacher, environmental activist and the first woman elected to serve on the Lewiston Town Council, died last Wednesday in Our Lady of Peace Nursing Care Residence, Lewiston, after a long illness. She was 86.

Born in Lewiston, the former Joan Martin attended the Frog Hollow School at Pletcher and Calkins roads and graduated from the Lewiston Red Brick School and Brockport State Teachers College. She taught at Lewiston Heights Elementary School and taught preschool at the Lewiston First Presbyterian Church.

Elected to the Lewiston Town Council in 1976, she served for 12 years and was tireless in her efforts to protect the land and the people in Lewiston and Youngstown from radioactive waste and other hazardous materials in landfills. In the 1990s, she formed Operation Clean, which campaigned to prevent expansion of landfills.

Mrs. Gipp was one of the New York State representatives on the Great Lakes Commission, was a member of the Niagara County Planning Board, served on the OxyChem citizen advisory panel and chaired Waste Watch, a national environmental advisory service. She was an emeritus member of the Former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Restoration Advisory Board.

She received many awards and honors. Acknowledging her contributions, the Town of Lewiston proclaimed Aug. 1, 2003, as Joan Gipp Day. A Lewiston citizens group, Residents for Responsible Government, sponsors an environmental award in her name.

She also was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of Lewiston Fire Company No. 1.

She provided inspiration and encouragement for a book, “Beyond the Falls: A Modern History of the Lower Niagara River,” by Lisa Aug.

Her husband, Arthur H., died in 1982.

Survivors include two sons, William and Gerald; and a sister, Sylvia Hoffmeier.

A celebration of her life will be held in April.

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