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Running to keep memory of beloved teacher alive
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• WHAT: The Heller E. Lipsett Memorial 5K/one-mile run/walk

• WHEN: Sunday. One-mile begins at 8 a.m.; 5K starts at 8:30 a.m.

• WHERE: Start and finish at McParland Elementary School, 

1601 Northgate Drive.

• REGISTRATION: One-mile, $15; 5K, $25. Register at or in the office at McParland. For more information, contact

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article first appeared in the Nov. 8, 2013 edition of the Manteca Bulletin. It has been modified to accommodate Sunday’s second annual Heller E. Lipsett Memorial.


Heller Lipsett’s death was sudden and tragic, shaking her family at home and in the classroom.

Lipsett, a longtime instructor with the Manteca Unified School District, died of a brain aneurism in June of 2013.

Just months after her funeral services, Lipsett’s relatives and colleagues came together to create an event they hoped would memorialize the beloved elementary school teacher.

Today, it still does.

The second annual Heller E. Lipsett Memorial Run is Sunday and will feature a 5-kilometer and 1-mile run that will begin and end at McParland Elementary School. The 5K will take runners past Chadwick Square and Primavera and Doxey parks. 

“She was highly regarded. She would do anything for anybody,” McParland instructor and running club advisor Ben Theiss said on the eve of the inaugural event.

As of press time, approximately 165 participants have registered for the second running of the event. Theiss hopes 300 people will toe the two starting lines, matching 2013’s draw. The inaugural event raised approximately $5,000 for the school’s community club, an organization that raises money to augment an ever-shrinking budget. Specifically, the funds are used for field trips, supplies and to assist students in need of financial assistance with school-related activities.

This year, Theiss said the money has been ear-marked for an on-campus running path for students, the cross-country team and school employees. The vision was Principal Dale Borgeson’s, and in time the path would grow to include cross-training stations, such pull-up bars, benches and the like.

That Lipsett’s name graces this event is no surprise. She was a  member of the McParland faculty and taught several grade levels during an 11-year career at the Northgate Drive campus.

She was scheduled to teach seventh grade when tragedy struck.

Lipsett’s legacy lives on thanks in large part to Theiss, an experienced race coordinator and member of the Community Club. Theiss felt a memorial run would fill two voids on campus: 1) preserving the memory of Lipsett; and 2) boosting support for the organization.

“When she died, it was a great loss. I thought what a great way to remember her by,” said Theiss, who has helped organize the popular Neon Night and Recon obstacle runs. “Not having her here wasn’t going to work out. I couldn’t let her be forgotten.”


To contact Managing Editor James Burns email or follow him on Twitter at jburns1980.