The Obit For Ken Charipar

Longtime local baseball man Charipar dies
March 22nd, 2011

Ken Charipar was a plumber for 40 years, but it’s his dedication to baseball that he’ll be most remembered for.

The Cedar Rapids man and longtime coach died Monday at 80 after a lengthy illness.

Ken Charipar speaks during a 2006 press conference for the American Legion World Series that was conducted at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids (Source Media Group photo by Cliff Jette)
“What a great person,” said former longtime Iowa baseball coach Duane Banks, for whom Charipar was an assistant. “I don’t think I can think of anyone who was more kind than Kenny Charipar. He was special.”

Charipar helped Cedar Rapids Wilson to three consecutive state championships in the late 1940s, spending time in the minor leagues after signing a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs in 1948.

He coached in the old M&J League here and helped a local American Legion team to three consecutive World Series appearances in the late 1970s. His top pitcher was Mike Boddicker, his future son in law, who would go on to enjoy a lengthy major league career with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers.

Charipar coached at the U of I for 13 years in the 1970s and 80s.

“There are so many kids who are better men today because of being around Kenny,” Banks said. “Every day, he made you feel better. I know I’m a better person for just knowing Kenny Charipar. I love the guy.”

Charipar is survived by his wife of 60 years, Patricia, and eight children. His daughter and son in law, Diane and Tom Stortz, helped finance and build the baseball diamond at Cedar Rapids Xavier in 2000, which is named Ken Charipar Field.

“They wanted to honor him,” said Xavier Athletics Director Mike Winker. “Tom went to Regis and Diane to LaSalle. All of the Charipar kids went to LaSalle, and his grandkids to Xavier.

“It saddens all of us at Xavier that Ken has passed away.”