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A passing in Skaneateles

"He always had his door open to anybody ... made sure everybody felt welcome," Shane Lipe said.

Those words he said were about his father, Burt Lipe, whose life was cut short on Oct. 10. The owner of Morris's, a well-known bar and grill in Skaneateles, Burt was a friend, a husband, a father.

For 28 years, Burt's name has been synonymous with Morris's, the bar that is lauded as an everyman's watering hole and the place that has seen generations come through its doors.

"He touched everyone that he met in their mind, body and soul," Shane said.

Lined up along the edge of the bar on Thursday Oct. 15, Burt's family -- his wife, MJ, and sons Shane, James Goss and Chris Goss -- talked about the man they all adored and the loss they have endured. Their memories of Burt shine brighter than the loss, though, as each retold the barkeep's stories.

"He always put a smile on people's faces," James said as a smile of his own gently swept across his lips.

The Lipe home was always open to the boys' friends and Burt had a big impact on many of their lives, James said.

"He was always there for sporting events," Chris said.

As each of them went off to college, Burt had them return home with a school pennant so he could proudly display them along the wall of the bar.

Along with college paraphernalia, there's an American flag that graces the east wall above the tables, a flag which is tied to a different kind of education.

"This is the flag I flew off my vehicle while I was in Iraq," said Shane, who served overseas during the war. "I told him he would know what to do with it."

And he did. Burt had the Stars and Stripes mended, repaired and framed. Complementary to the flag, at the time of his death, Burt continued to hang a star in the window of the bar for his son.

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