Richard Lipsey has been honored by his community, as a giant in business and industry, for his leadership in support of his beloved LSU.

Now, Thursday, for the first time in his life-long love of the outdoors, the Baton Rougean will be honored for his efforts in conservation.

Ducks Unlimited’s Baton Rouge Chapter set a major fundraiser around the Richard A. Lipsey Major Sponsor Tribute at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, a fete that will formally announce the dedication of two major DU projects, one in Cameron Parish and another on the duck-breeding grounds in Saskatchewan, Canada.

“I’m deeply honored and flattered to think of all the people in Baton Rouge, the longtime supporters of Ducks Unlimited, that they would select me to put my name on these two projects,” the 76-year-old chairman of the board for Lipsey, Inc. said. “It means even more that these two projects are on both ends of the (Mississippi) flyway.”

The Elmsthorpe Project in Saskatchewan will enhance 160 acres in the Prairie Pothole region, an area DU biologists say supports waterfowl breeding densities near 60 pairs of breeding ducks per square mile in the Missouri Coteau, an area that sends ducks migrating into Louisiana.

The Cameron Parish work, labeled the Creole Marsh Project, is to control salinities across 11,000 areas of marsh that’s home to mottled ducks, Louisiana’s only native duck, and thousands of overwintering waterfowl.

“I remember the first time my dad took my brother, Buddy, and I to Creole to hunt with Joe Rutherford,” Lipsey said. “Buddy was 10 and I was 6, and I’ve been in that marsh every year since 1945.

“I’d rather be in a duck blind in that marsh near Creole to hear the birds singing, to watch that marsh come alive in the first light of day. It’s the most beautiful sight in the world.”

Event co-chair Scott Singletary said the honor is long overdue. He said Lipsey, who was introduced to hunting and fishing from his father, Joe, at an early age, has been involved in south Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community for many years.

“For years, Richard Lipsey has given of his time at a number of different levels in Ducks Unlimited, and he has given so generously of his resources that it’s only fitting that DU says thank you to Richard,” Singletary said. “How many of us remember walking into Steinberg’s when we were young kids and how magical an experience it was.”

For Lipsey, the legendary Steinberg’s Sports Center was his start in the outdoors trades that led to S&S Wholesale, then to Lipsey, Inc. — the 100-employee, Baton Rouge-based business now among North America’s leading firearms and outdoors products distributors.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute,” Lipsey said. “I can’t tell you what it means to me when I’m in an airport somewhere and someone comes up to me and tells me, ‘You wouldn’t remember me, but I remember walking into Steinberg’s and saw that polar bear in the front of the store, and my father bought my first Browning shotgun that same day,’ or somebody tells me they worked for me while they worked at Steinberg’s in 1968 or 1975 while they were going to LSU.

“I can’t tell you how many kids we helped get through LSU with my father in retail trades for all those years,” Lipsey said.

There was more, much more. Richard Lipsey directed staff and firearms experts to organize firearms safety and shooting clinics for decades in the Baton Rouge area, then expanded those efforts to include Boy Scout troops first at Istrouma then Avondale Scout reserves.

During those years, Lipsey and other avid hunters organized Baton Rouge’s first DU chapter in the 1960s and started DU’s life membership push that put the Capital City area on DU’s fundraising map.

“My father and mother (Anna) always told me to give back to the community that supported us for so many years,” Lipsey said. “I’ve spent my life fishing and hunting, and I took it to heart to do all I could to promote good conservation and conservation of our natural resources.

“And it was a duty to encourage others to support organizations whose goal is to help future generations to be able to hunt and fish, and the only way you can do that is by supporting good conservation,” he said.

For Lipsey’s daughter, Laurie Aronson, now Lipsey’s, Inc. president and CEO, Thursday’s banquet recognizes her father’s “giving-back” dedication.

“He’s never home,” Aronson said. “His free time is spent working for success of so many other organizations.”

Now, Richard Lipsey can add to honors like Golden Deeds, The Advocate’s prestigious community service award, and the many other industry accolades earned during the past four decades.

Thursday’s event co-chairs Singletary and Taylor Bennett took Aronson’s words to heart when they announced the event: “(Richard’s) interest and regard for wetland and waterfowl conservation makes him one of Baton Rouge’s and DU’s top ambassadors in North America,” Singletary said.