Capt. Eric “Ted” Rippert

Capt. Eric “Ted” Rippert

February 22, 1942 ~ May 06, 2024

Date of Service:
May 15, 2024


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Captain Eric “Ted” Rippert, a beloved figure in both the Navy and the field of dentistry, passed away on May 6, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of service, education, and love. Born in Fort Devens, MA, Eric spent his early years in New York City under the care of his mother while his father, Colonel Jacob Rippert, heroically fought in World War II. It was this early exposure to military life that would shape Ted’s path, instilling in him a deep sense of duty and honor.

Ted’s passion for the Navy was matched only by his love for teaching dentistry. Starting in the Navy, he embarked on a distinguished career as an educator, leaving his mark at institutions such as the Great Lakes Hospital, the University of Richmond, University of Nebraska, University of Pittsburgh, and finally the Dental College of Georgia. His dedication to teaching extended beyond the classroom, as he volunteered his time to lead tours at Constitution Island at the United States Military Academy and at the SEAL Museum in Vero Beach, Florida.

Throughout his life, Ted balanced his roles as a naval officer and a dentist with grace and skill. He served on the USS Paul Revere (LPA-248) and was a plank owner on the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69), where his leadership and expertise were invaluable. Ted’s deployment to Vietnam aboard the USS Paul Revere showcased his bravery and commitment to his country.

Ted was not only a distinguished naval officer and educator but also a devoted family man. He was married to Mary Ellen Rippert, and together they shared the joys and challenges of life. Ted is survived by his son, Thomas Ashton Rippert, and although his daughter, Kathleen Marie Rippert, has passed away, her memory lives on in the hearts of those who loved her.

A devout Catholic, Ted found solace and strength in his faith, guiding him through life’s trials and triumphs. His faith was a cornerstone of his character, shaping his values and guiding his actions.

Ted’s love for dentistry was evident in both his teaching and practice. As an oral surgeon, he approached his work with passion and precision, leaving a lasting impact on his students and patients alike. His love for teaching and practicing dentistry intersected beautifully, creating a legacy of excellence that will endure for generations to come.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Ted was known for his quirks and passions. He had a notorious aversion to lettuce but had a sweet tooth that was undeniable, perhaps a humorous nod to his chosen profession. His lifelong love for dogs was unmatched but he is also known for his creative side, as evidenced by his creation of a three-foot-high paper-mâché tooth while stationed at Quantico.

Ted’s adventurous spirit led him to remarkable experiences, such as drinking champagne out of a crystal fruit bowl during a trip to the Soviet Union. Yet, amidst his travels and adventures, Ted always cherished his roots in Ellenville, NY. He spent countless summers at his cabin, where he found peace and joy in the simple pleasures of life.

In his passing, Ted leaves behind a void that cannot be filled, but his spirit will continue to inspire all who knew him. His legacy of service, education, and love will endure, a testament to a life well-lived at the intersection of leadership, dentistry, and teaching. As we mourn his loss, let us also celebrate the extraordinary man that Captain Eric “Ted” Rippert was and the profound impact he had on all who had the privilege of knowing him.

A funeral mass with military honors provided by the Sebastian Area Honor Guard will be held 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, 7550 26th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32966.

Arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

Date of Service:
May 15, 2024


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.


Jack Bowers - friend and fellow Naval Dental Officer

May 9, 2024, 9:41 am

A good friend and fellow Naval Officer, I will always remember Ted and his sense of humor, his love of life, and his professionalism. I will miss you, brother. Captain Jack Bowers, DC, USN

Timothy & Barbara Flanigan - Friend

May 9, 2024, 3:47 pm

Mary Ellen, Thinking of you and your family as you celebrate the life of your beloved Ted. May your happy memories give you peace and comfort during this challenging time. Tim & I have such wonderful memories of Ted and all he gave to the world. Grief comes in waves, please know you can call me at anytime. Love Tim & Barbara Flanigan

Daniel Assad - Friend and Fellow Naval Officer

May 10, 2024, 2:10 am

I was a young “green” behind the ears, LT when I first met Ted. He thought me how to be a better dentist and Naval Officer. He was one of my sea daddy’s and I am forever grateful for the pleasure of knowing Ted and Mary Ellen and all that he taught me. Rose and I have fond memories of spending time with Ted and Mary Ellen socially. The world was a better place with Ted in it. Mary Ellen, Rose and I are very sorry to hear of Ted’s passing, he was a special person. Our heart felt condolences. Dan (and Rose) Assad, CAPT USN (ret)

Judy Nieusma - friend

May 10, 2024, 12:18 pm

Mary Ellen, I am sending you and your family strength, love, and compassion. Please call me when you feel the need to talk.

Tom Juliano - Shipmate and Friend

May 14, 2024, 5:43 pm

Ted and I were shipmates on the USS Paul Revere in 1970 while in Vietnam. We met again 45 years later and renewed our friendship at the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce Florida. Ted was a close friend and trusted teammate at the Museum and Navy League. WE shared may fun Fridays at the Museum and I looked to him as expert in all things Navy. I will miss Ted and honor him for the life he spent helping others. Mary Ellen, Marie and I know how difficult this time is for you and hope your memories together bring you comfort.

Drew Brennan - College classmate

June 1, 2024, 4:41 pm

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man and life. I remember Ted from our days as NROTC midshipmen at Holy Cross College. Always a smile, always a hello. My condolences to family.

John gordon` - college classmate

June 4, 2024, 5:03 am

Ted and I were traveling buddies during college. While we unfortunately rarely saw each other in the intervening years, we always kept in touch. I had the memorable opportunity to have a wonderful dinner with Ted and MaryEllen in Jan ’24 at their home in Viero Beach, Fl. I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to see him then and then again quickly for a visit in March during another trip to Florida. Funny how fate works. Happy sailing, Ted..

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