Only the good die young

Only the good die young

Jimmy Lipovsky Jr. 1978-2013

By Michel Miller 12/12/2013

If you’ve spent much time in downtown Ventura, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Jimmy Lipovsky. The 35-year-old bartender and co-founder of Love Handle Clothing passed away on Dec. 4 from an asthma attack. A familiar face around town with his impressive mustache, mischievous smile and straight shooting personality (he grew up on the East Coast), Lipovsky’s unexpected death sent the Ventura music scene reeling.

Last weekend a private memorial was held at Lake Casitas for family and close friends where New Liberty’s Shane Mac performed a song he wrote for Lipovsky, one of his best friends. To salute Lipovsky, an avid disc golfer, those in attendance sent hundreds of colorful discs in the air at the 16th hole of the course there. A moving public memorial was put together by a handful of people including Garrett Combs who books entertainment for Good Bar where Lipovsky worked until October before moving to Watermark.  Jay Rannow edited a tribute video for the event, and members of Rubberneck Lions, KHKG, Shaky Feelin’ and New Liberty joined other local musicians for a heartfelt rendition of “Freebird” and other songs in tribute to their dear friend who championed local music and developed deep friendships with many of the area’s musicians.  The celebration of Lipovsky’s short but tremendous life ended with a procession to Good Bar led by D on Darox playing a somber accordion melody.

“You could feel the ground shake with each beat and hear the echo down Main Street,” says Rannow. “I’ve never been so saddened yet felt so rejoiced in calling someone, especially James Lipovsky Jr., a friend.”

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” says Rubberneck Lions drummer Jaison Henderson.

Henderson recalls the time Lipovsky “leaped over the bar to crack a guy who was attempting to jump a friend of mine. Just a true-blue, straightforward, good-hearted guy. He will always be missed and there will never be a mustache better. A great bartender and an amazing person.”

Mac, who met Lipovsky in 2010 only a couple of days after he and his bandmates moved to Ventura from Pennsylvania, was heartbroken by the loss of his friend. “Jimmy was like the big brother I had always dreamed about having as a kid,” he told VCReporter. “Jimmy was quick-witted, had an endless vocabulary and the ability to use it better than anyone I’ve ever known.”

Many of Lipovsky’s friends noted how he was always encouraging them to be their best, to achieve their dreams. “All he ever tried to do was push me to strive harder, better my craft and inspire,” says Mac, “to work to be a better man, a true gentlemen.”

“Jimmy is an additive soul,” says Dan Grimm. “Once you’ve met him and had an opportunity to connect with him, you carry some of him with you forever.”

“Jimmy was better than one of a kind; yet he was the one who would say that statement is bullshit,” says Mac. “And he’d tell you why you didn’t need some cliché  to add any value to your existence. He’d then most likely say that your existence is proof enough, and then say something funny (in one of the unique Jimmy voices) like, ‘Come on buddy, Yeah!’  I’m going to miss you, man. I love you; farewell, my friend. “

Memorial donations may be made to the James P. Lipovsky Jr. Memorial Fund c/o Hodapp Funeral Home and sent to Hodapp Funeral Home, 6041 Hamilton Ave., Cincinatti, OH, 45224. Condolences may be left at


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