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100 Reasons to Live Longer

July 6, 2006 By:
Frank Rosci, JE Feature
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No trouble blowing out these candles!
Sol Lipkin turned 100 years old on May 26. In his honor, Dave & Buster's, the popular Delaware Avenue eatery and games super arcade, threw him a birthday party bash the following week. Who is Sol Lipkin? First and foremost, he's a close personal friend of Dave Corriveau and Buster Corley, co-founders and co-owners of Dave & Buster's. That was the main reason for the party, said Corley, who along with Corriveau flew in from their Dallas base to join about 200 more of Lipkin's closest friends for the festivities.

In addition, Lipkin, known as the "Godfather of Shuffleboard" -- through his Herculean sales and promotional efforts, starting in 1934, he put the game of table shuffleboard on the national map practically single-handedly -- is "a highly valued, greatly respected, and very loyal Dave & Buster's employee," stated Corley.

Lipkin's D&B title is special consultant. In that capacity, he still travels the United States for the game he loves; performs public-relations functions as a D&B spokesman at various venues, including conventions and shuffleboard tournaments; and represents D&B as an ambassador of goodwill every time the company opens a new location.

The next time that will happen will be in Minneapolis in November for the opening of the chain's 49th store. Lipkin has attended every D&B opening, including the very first one in Dallas in 1982, and is regarded as the company's talisman or good luck charm.

"I enjoy life and stay interested, and love what I do -- Dave & Buster and their people are just great -- and I don't ever want to stop. That's my secret to success, you could say, and that I have no stress in my life is why I have lived so long. It's all about attitude," explained Lipkin, a resident of Union, N.J., who still plays golf and tennis, enjoys long walks and fishing from New Jersey's beaches, and is involved in community service.

He still drives, and even ice skates!

"When I meet people, I see them all as people first, as human beings," he added with a charming, telling smile.

In response to a question about whether or not he teaches people to play shuffleboard, he came back rapidly with a question of his own. It was an enthusiastic, "Want to play?"

Lipkin, a man of many talents, isn't very tall -- about 5 foot, 6 inches --but when all he's achieved over his now 100-years-plus is stacked up, he stands head and shoulders above most others. The name Sol, diminutive of the great name Solomon, fits him to a tee.

"That my dad never retired, I think, is the reason he keeps on going," remarked his son, Bruce E. Lipkin, president and CEO, UVM Incorporated, a vending management company, in Westfield, N.J.

Lipkin's much-younger girlfriend, Susan Pacifico of Houston, put a smile on his face and everyone else's with a gag gift -- an electronic badge that continually spelled out in glowing red letters, "I'm 100 years old and still a chick magnet."

Lipkin has already outlived two wives.

Not Just Shufflin' Along
His long and varied career in the shuffleboard industry began, as noted, in 1934 when he took a sales job with National Shuffleboard (now defunct). After World War II, in which he served as a Navy Seebee, building airport runways in Iceland, he returned to National where he stayed until 1951. That year, he signed on with American Shuffleboard in Union City, N.J.

In 1998, he became the resident shuffleboard expert for Venture Entertainment Products, Hillside, N.J. He has worked for Brook Metal Products, a metals manufacturer for the shuffleboard industry, also located in Hillside, since 2003.

Over the decades, Lipkin has risen to the very top in his field. He is the first person to be inducted as a promoter of the game into the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame in 1996.

"Sol seems to be ageless. We're all trying to catch up to him in so many ways. He's one of a kind -- a unique man, a role model, and a great friend to me and the game of shuffleboard," proclaimed the Federation's John McDermott.

Lipkin's rules for life, relayed Corley, were learned from his parents, Sophia and Joseph, who were born in Latvia. "Believe in God, know right from wrong, and respect your elders is what they taught me," said Lipkin.

Obviously, the third rule is a bit harder for him to follow these days, since there aren't many people older than he around.

Most curious of all in Lipkin's long-standing D&B relationship is the startling fact that when he and his parents immigrated to the United States from England, when Lipkin was just a baby, the family arrived at Pier 19 on the Delaware River -- exactly where Dave & Buster's first Philadelphia store, which opened in February 1994, stands today.


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