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Distiller Ernest Ripy Jr.

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This obituary was in the Herald-Leader newspaper (Lexington, Ky)

Ernest W. Ripy Jr. retired vice president of Austin Nichols Distilling Co. in Anderson County, died Monday at Hospice Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington. He was 89 and lived on South Main Street in Lawrenceburg.

Mr. Ripy, a Master Distiller, retired as vice president of Austin Nichols in 1978 after 42 years in the bourbon industry.

He began his career at his family's Ripy Brothers Distillery in Anderson County. His father, Ernest Whitney Ripy, was instrumental in starting the distillery after Prohibition ended. Mr. Ripy's grandfather, Thomas B. Ripy, also was a distiller, as was his great-grandfather, James P. Ripy, who came to Kentucky from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Ripy Brothers Distillery changed hands over the years. Now Austin Nichols Distilling Co., it produces Wild Turkey bourbon whiskey.

Mr. Ripy was born in Lawrenceburg and graduated from Lawrenceburg High School in 1931. He was thought to be Anderson County's first Eagle Scout, having received that honor at age 15. He graduated from Purdue University in 1935 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army.

In the Army from 1941 to 1945, Mr. Ripy served with the 45th Field Artillery Battalion in the 8th Infantry. He received a Bronze Star for bravery. He also received a Silver Star for courage after twice leading his men out of heavy gunfire in April 1945 in Germany. Mr. Ripy retired as a colonel in the Army Reserve in 1973.

He also was a genealogist and enjoyed golf, basketball, football and traveling.

Survivors include his wife, Nita Frazier Ripy; four daughters, Ann Ripy Hochstrasser, Madeline Ripy Prewitt, and June Ripy Whisman, all fo Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Sallie Ripy Crawford of Lawrenceburg; nine grandchildren' and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at Lawrenceburg First Christian Church, Visitation will be after 1 p.m. Thursday at the church. Contributions are suggested to Hospice of the Bluegrass, Lawrenceburg First Christian Church or one's favorite charity. Ritchie-Peach-Todd funeral Home in Lawrenceburg is in charge of the arrangements.

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