Willette Rachel Tipton
August 3, 1987 – December 30, 2020
Our fabulous, Willette (Lette) Rachel Tipton, 33, went to heaven on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, surrounded by her family. 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, and Lette had the added fight of pancreatic cancer. In true Lette fashion, she fought with beauty, grace, thoughts of others first, and strength and courage that tried to give us all peace in the midst of her storm.
From the start, she was spunky, sassy, and full of life. Born in Clovis, California, on August 3, 1987, she grew up in California’s Central Valley. A graduate of San Joaquin Memorial High School in 2005, she graduated from Santa Clara University in 2010 with a degree in finance. Lette spent 2007-2008 at the Beijing Center in China studying business and Mandarin. She was a Kappa Alpha Theta.
Lette’s petite frame of 5’ almost 1” was overshadowed by her enormous personality. Having lived her adult life in San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago, she made friends wherever she went. Lette had a keen sense of empathy. She’s the person that would walk into a convenience store and purchase food for the homeless person sitting outside. She made people feel included and would fix your woes with her baking. She adored her friends and family.
Lette had a career that she was passionate about. Her last position was as a Vice President at Alix Partners in Chicago. Fiercely independent and not one to sit still, she had many interests. Lette filled her free time with cooking and baking classes (online this year through the pandemic), pottery classes, and taught herself how to knit and embroider. She was certified to scuba dive, something she said that “everyone should experience.” Lette had no pets but was fond of many and enjoyed sharing posts of pigs, goats and french bulldogs on Instagram. When back at her family home, she’d relax playing the piano. Lette loved to travel. In November 2019, her last travels took her on a solo trip, for pleasure, to Paris. A place she wanted to return to with the love of her life.
Erik and Lette had a relationship that most can only dream of. Quarantined together and living with cancer, they were together 24/7 since March. The only times that they were not together were when Lette had a doctor visit or hospital stay where visitors were not allowed. They were beautiful to watch. They had gestures and expressions that were all their own, communicating with so much more than words. Erik’s patience and loving care toward Lette through this was a rare gift. You can never have enough kisses!
Lette is survived by her fiance, Erik Vining of Chicago; father, John Tipton of Madera; her mom Karen-Maria Brown and her dad, John Brown of Chowchilla; her siblings, Kristen Brown, John Brown, Dusty Brown (Nicole) and Shannon Teter; her grandparents, John and Karen Jordan of Madera; her uncles and aunts, Geoff and Tammy Tipton of Clovis, Paul Tipton of Madera, Rachel Jordan of Del Ray Beach, Florida; and many cousins.
Thank you to Dr. Mulcahy and the oncology staff at Northwestern Medicine; dedicated, kind staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Giosi, the best friend and nurse a girl could have; Alix Partners for keeping Lette on all year, it gave her hope; doormen Darrel, Demond, Maurice, Kevin, and Julian for your kind thoughts, care, and prayers; to the big-hearted mailroom ladies, Linda and Miranda; to the Johnson family for so many kindnesses, including travel; family and friends that kept, food, flowers, puzzles, text messages and prayers coming Lette’s way. You all blessed Lette and our family more than words can express.
Lette was a Young Professional Board Member at Deborah's Place in Chicago. In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to https://www.deborahsplace.org/donate/.
- Erik Vining, Fiance
- John Tipton, Father
- Karen-Maria Brown, Mother
- John Brown, Dad
- Kristen Brown, Sister
- John Brown, Brother
- Dusty Brown (Nicole), Brother
- Shannon Teter, Sister
- John Jordan, Grandfather
- Karen Jordan, Grandmother
- Geoff Tipton, Uncle
- Tammy Tipton, Aunt
- Paul Tipton, Uncle
- Rachel Jordan, Aunt
- Numerous, Cousins
Willette Rachel Tipton
January 16, 2021
Our hearts are broken at J. Andrews Salon.
We adored our spunky, energetic client.
Fun, and kind as could be.
We wish Erik and Lette’s family peace.
Marianne Lambert Halpin
January 8, 2021
So shocked and saddened to read this.
My husband (Paddy) and I met Lette when we travelled in 2008/09. She was a lovely girl, kind, funny, and full of fun!! We have been linked via Facebook since.
Sending you all condolences, best wishes and lots of love for Lette.
From Marianne and Paddy in Dublin, Ireland
January 7, 2021
I knew Lette at Santa Clara University. She was a dear, dear friend. One of my fondest memories of her was her showing up late to one of my birthday parties with the guy who did our hair. We had so much fun that night. She told me she wasn’t able to make it because she had been planning the surprise with him for weeks. Big hugs little lady, I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye.