Ira A. Lipman, longtime Memphian and founder
of Guardsmark, an international private security firm, died Monday in
New York City, where he had lived for some time. Lipman was also a board
member of Contemporary Media, Inc., the parent company of the Memphis
Flyer, Memphis magazine, and Memphis Parent.
the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism at Columbia
Lipman, 78, had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
Lipman grew up in Little Rock and founded Guardsmark in 1963. He sold
the company in 2015 to Universal Protection Service. Guardsmark's
headquarters were in Downtown Memphis for many years, and it employed
2,000 local residents at one time. The company had 17,000 employees in
four countries when it was sold.
While in school in Little Rock as a teenager, Lipman was a source for
NBC reporter John Chancellor while he was covering the unrest
surrounding integration there in the 1960s.
Thereafter, Lipman was known for his love of the free press and
supported it throughout his life. In 1995, he
Lipman was also a lifelong activist in service to human rights,
including terms as chairman of the National Conference of Christian
and Jews and the United
Way of America’s ethics committee. He was also on the Council on
Foreign Relations and a board member of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
and New-York Historical Society.
His wife, Barbara — for whom the University of Memphis Barbara K.
Lipman Early Learning and Research Center is named — survives him,
along with his sons Gustave, Joshua, and Benjamin Lipman.