“The edge … There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it really is are the ones who have gone over.”

—Hunter S. Thompson


Todd Anthony Rippo was born on Dec. 14, 1964, in San Diego, Calif. A true native San Diegan, his early years were spent in Point Loma, Ocean Beach, Mission Hills, La Jolla, Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe. He received a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego.

Todd was a rock star in every sense of the word. Music was his pulse. He awoke each morning with a song in his head and had an uncanny ability to spontaneously riff remarkable lyrics. Band night with Todd was legendary. His taste in music was original and eclectic. You never knew if Miles Davis, Bowie or Hiss Golden Messenger would be spinning on his old-school turntable while he enjoyed a cigar. In 2018, Todd released his first album, “Thought I Knew You.” This was a compilation of many of his favorite original songs. The album is a raw and soulful glimpse into Todd’s captivating mind, his life and his loves.

Todd was larger than life. His remarkable energy captivated all who met and knew him. Todd was always the coolest guy in the room, but not for the reasons one often associates with the word. He was cool because he was both unsettlingly powerful and profoundly fragile all at once. Todd was fearless and brave, yet had no fear of showing you his vulnerabilities. He was the epitome of manliness, yet fostered and proudly displayed his feminine side simultaneously.

A beautiful man, he was generous, sexy, elegant and romantic. Todd was a deep thinker, inquisitive, complex and clever. He was superstitious, stubborn, spiritual, political and soulful. He was remarkably intelligent, funny and fiercely loyal to those he loved. When Todd loved you, you felt chosen. He was magic. There wasn’t a disingenuous bone in his body. He was a profoundly sensitive old soul.

He had a singular, enviable sense of style and impeccable taste. Aside from music, Todd loved art, passionate and creative people, skateboards, dive bars, live concerts, socks, beach walks, leather jackets, a chain wallet, motorcycles, beautiful women, a great cigar and a “good” margarita. He kept treasures and talismans in his pockets—a coin given to him by his Navy Seal friends, a knife from his father and a Chimayo cross from his sister.

Todd loved his home. It was a magical place to gather for sunsets, Todd’s “Almost Famous Cookies” and cigar nights lasting well into the night. His house was full of albums, art, trinkets and mementos from his colorful life—heart rocks, beach glass, cigar wrappers, flowers, candles, pinup girls, musical instruments, interesting books, hot wheels, peanut M&Ms, icons of every sort and a well-adorned jackalope at the top of the stairs.

Todd had beautiful, singular friends in this life’s journey—people who loved him dearly and whose love he reciprocated with equal passion. He had magical stories of traveling the world and told remarkable tales of the characters he met and the music he heard along the way. Todd always said, “I love you.” He often cried. Todd greeted you with a bear hug and a kiss.

Todd adored his beautiful daughter, “Frankie” Francesca Rippo. She was the light and love of his life. He beamed with pride when she rode on the back of his motorcycle or learned to skateboard, ski or surf. They shared a love of music and had their own language. He was so proud to be anywhere with Frankie. Their connection profound, Todd was a “Rad Dad.”

The Idaho Java coffee shops—located in Ketchum, Hailey, Boise and Twin Falls—are his legacy. It all started with pre-law student Todd studying in coffee shops in San Diego. Todd fell in love with the coffee culture. He bought a motorcycle and took some time off of school to figure out his life. That motorcycle took him out of California and to the front door of what is now Java on Fourth in Ketchum, Idaho. You could be anywhere—any random place in the world—and someone would always recognize the “guy from Java.” Todd was and still is the heartbeat, soul and rock ’n’ roll of this thriving business.

Todd passed away in his home in Del Mar, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Todd was preceded in death by Anthony J. Rippo, M.D. He is survived by his daughter, Francesca Rippo; mother, Madeline D’Atri Rippo; father, Rick Maxey; sister, Annie “Belle” Rippo-VeneKlasen; brothers, Tobin and Josh Rippo; step-brothers and sisters; and innumerable in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Todd’s departure from this life will leave a lasting void in all our lives. He was the brightest of shooting stars. Fly free, soar with the angels and rock the heavens, Todd.

Join family and friends in celebration of Todd's life on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 2–­6 p.m. at Java on Fourth.