Lillian Ruppe MACY

March 16, 1928October 12, 2020

Born in 1928 to Antonia Petsche and Rudolf Ruppe, Lillian grew up with her two sisters Nettie and Rita and her brother Richard in the vibrant ethnic metropolis of Cleveland, Ohio. She recalls, “I was a skinny girl who liked to draw, sew, and learn about new places and people.” Naturally inquisitive and fiercely determined to learn, Lillian took readily to school. In defiance of her parents’ wishes, she worked her way through two university degrees, completing a Master’s in social work from Catholic University. At the age of 20, she met her future husband Alfonso Macy and they embarked on a life together, marrying in 1953 and moving west to San Diego. Married for 61 years until Al’s death, she leaves a large and loving family to grieve her passing: children Anita (Jeff Madigan), Eric (Gaye Baldauf), Alan (Cindy Walker), Christine (Sarah Bonnemaison), Mark (Kelly Tokerud), Conrad (Tamera Flores), and Phillip Tu (Hong An Thi Le), as well as in-laws, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Lillian reflected her beliefs to the world around her: “When I’m gone, I will miss my family and friends but I believe that we begin our heaven here on Earth ... through understanding, truth, and being loving and generous with things and with time.” Family. “I’m proud that Al was my husband and together we raised beautiful, intelligent, loving children. Everyone gathered daily for breakfast and dinner. Birthdays, name days and special events were celebrated, and the family vacationed each summer. The children thrived. They played together and occasionally fought but all were good students and there was never a doubt that all would go to college and beyond. Al was the most important person in my life. He taught me to reach out to people, he encouraged me to take foreign students into our home, to experiment with new food, to learn new skills. I have tried to be a good wife and mother which I believe are my most important roles. The Macy family had an open-door policy so we had many visitors, long and short term.”

Community. “We knew no-one in San Diego, there was no job awaiting us, it didn’t take us long to realize how isolated we were. Our first home was near a promising Catholic Church. We joined, met our neighbours and began reaching out to the wider community. The folks at Cardijn Center wanted to make Catholicism more relevant to the world — this was the origin of our involvement in Christian Family Movement, racial justice, marriage preparation, foreign students, the ecumenical movement, politics, farm workers, the Catholic Worker, Nano, Call to Action and, most recently, Small Church Communities. We all need community.”

Faith. “I believe in a loving God who created me and all the beauty around me. I feel lucky to have been born into the Catholic Church. Thanks to our involvement with Cardijn Center and Christian Family Movement, my whole belief system expanded. We put the gospel into action.” “We are not alone, but part of a family that has a history of adventure, challenge and commitment to self, to one another and to the wider community. In the telling of our story, things become clearer, their meaning more evident, and the presence of an all-loving Creator becomes real. We pray that the unconditional love and guidance we have given our children and grandchildren will guide them as they write the next chapter in their story.”

Lillian died peacefully, surrounded by her loving family. Mass and reception will be arranged for the Spring of 2021, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ocean Beach, San Diego. If you’d like to be notified once the date has been set, please send your contact information to In memory of Lillian, you may consider making a donation to International Relief Teams, Catholic Worker of San Diego, Women for Women International, or the human rights charity of your choice.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Lillian Ruppe MACY

have a memory or condolence to add?


Learn more about the MACY name