THINGS WERE TOUGH in Kingsessing during the Depression.

Louis and Ida Lipson opened a delicatessen there, at 52nd Street and Warrington Avenue, but life was not always easy. Long hours, hard work and compassion for customers who sometimes couldn't pay a bill endeared them to the neighborhood.

And they had a devoted son. Jay Lipson pitched in to help all he could, even as a kid. He sold Christmas trees, did odd jobs for neighbors, and even taught himself bookkeeping so he could do the ordering for the store.

He also used his athletic skills to teach tennis.

"Jay never liked wasting a minute, and he didn't," his family said. "He dressed early each day and always asked, 'What's next?' with the goal to keep moving, keep enjoying, keep learning and thrive."

That was a fair description of the man who Jacob H. "Jay" Lipson became, a successful real-estate broker and appraiser, teacher and civic leader, artist, and Army veteran of World War II.

He died Sunday of cancer. He was 92 and lived in Garnet Valley, Delaware County, and had been a longtime resident of Havertown.

Jay and his wife, the former Charlotte Deitch, had a fairy-tale romance. They met at Temple University and were married on July 8, 1951. They renewed their vows for their 60th anniversary in 2011.

"He worshipped his beautiful wife, Charlotte, whom he told twice daily that he loved her, still wrote her love letters . . . ," his family said. "Charlotte often joked that she knew she married the right man because he was so good to his mother."

Jay graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1939. He was on the tennis team and played in the orchestra.

He was attending the University of Pennsylvania when World War II broke out. He went to work at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where he worked on the battleships USS New Jersey and USS Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served in both Europe and the South Pacific. He attained the rank of master sergeant.

After the war, Jay earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Temple, graduating summa cum laude in 1950. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

He opened his real-estate business in West Philadelphia, and a second office in Upper Darby. He got real-estate-appraisal certification, and taught real-estate and appraisal courses at Temple and Penn State, and for the Delaware County Real Estate Board.

He was president of the Real Estate Board and president of the Real Estate Appraisers.

Jay also served as a president of B'nai B'rith, president of the Lynnewood Park Civic Association, and was an active Mason. He formed the first Town Watch group in his Havertown neighborhood.

Jay was a talented artist who worked in oil, acrylic and watercolor. Family and friends prize his art works.

He was active in veterans organizations and proudly flew the American Flag every patriotic holiday. He hated to miss a parade.

He was also an avid sports fan and was a Phillies season-ticket holder for 32 years.

He enjoyed traveling with his wife, including at least 30 cruises to the Caribbean.

Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Linda Love and Judi Lipson Kunin; a son, Gary Lipson; four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Services: 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks Suburban North, 310 2nd Street Pike, Southampton. Burial will be in Roosevelt Memorial Park.