Whether he realized it or not, 2001 Branford Sports Hall of Fame inductee Gary W. Lipkvich established an exemplary blueprint for others to duplicate on how to find their role in the athletic, academic, or community service spectrum.
Gary attended Branford High School from 1966 to 1969, and was a three sport athlete. As a running back on the Branford Hornets, he was a teammate of fellow Hall of Fame inductee Joe Roberti (’99) and played for coach Tom Murray (’92). During his senior year, Gary was a tri-captain for the gridiron unit, which compiled a record of 6-3. Branford finished in third place in the tough Housatonic League that year and had two memorable victories including – a 32-16 win at Cheshire, and a 32-0 shutout versus East Haven in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. He earned a spot on the All-Housatonic League and All-State teams, in addition to being named the New Haven Register Player of the Year. Tonight’s inductee also claimed a spot in the Nutmeg Bowl and won the team’s Stu Clancy Award.
On the basketball team, Gary played during his sophomore, junior, and senior years. As a forward, he was part of the 1966-67 Hornets Housatonic League championship team which won 18 of 20 games and advanced to the C.I.A.C. Class B Semi-Final Tournament game, losing to Abbott Tech 70-61. Gary played with inductees Jerry Schmitz (’96) and Ted Kaczynski (’99). During his junior year, Gary was part of the Hornets hoops team, which tied for first place in the Housatonic League, and won 13 of 21 games. Branford captured key victories during the tail end of the regular season against the likes of Shelton (68-58), Cheshire (50-45), and East Haven (58-53), defeated Penney (56-48) and Simsbury (70-59) in the Class A tournament, before losing to Wilby 66-62. Gary was named to the All-Housatonic League team, the All-State Second Team and won the Savit Award in his junior year. In his senior season as quad-captain, Branford claimed a spectacular 18-2 record and another Housatonic League title, losing only to Cheshire 56-54 in the regular season, and to East Catholic, 51-40 in tournament action . In baseball, Gary was a second baseman during his sophomore and junior seasons.
Following graduation, he attended Manlius Military Preparatory School and accepted a one year post-graduate scholarship. While there, Gary played halfback on the football team and forward on the basketball team. He was nominated and accepted to West Point but opted not to attend. From 1970 to 1972, he attended the University of Miami (Fla.) on a full four-year football scholarship as an outside linebacker. In his junior year, he transferred to the University of Connecticut.
In 1974 he started the East Shore Wire Rope & Rigging Supply, Inc. with his father. Soon his two younger brothers joined the business, which now employs nine people. Gary is married to the former Anne Marie Paulsen and now has two daughters, Allyanne and Cassandra. He has sat on the Linden Shore District Board of Directors for three years and is an active member of the Branford Yacht Club and Dorr Street Tennis Association. He now coaches a team in the Junior Girls Division of the Branford Soccer Club.