Senator Tipton, 91, died peacefully at home surrounded by his lovely wife of 65 years, Ines, and his daughter Linda and son Steve.
Born in Stokesdale in Guilford County, North Carolina on Nov. 25 during the Great 1918 flu pandemic, Senator Tipton grew up in Hymera, in Sullivan County, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana State University with a B.S. degree in Political Science and lettered on the Sycamores' Varsity Football teams in 1938-40 led by ISU's legendary head coach Wally Martz.
Sensing the onset of world war, he volunteered for service in the U.S. Navy's pilot training program on Sept. 17, 1941 nearly three months prior to the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor declared by FDR as "The Day of Infamy." After completing flight training at Naval Station Miami, Florida in early 1942, then Lieutenant j.g. Tipton was assigned as a scout observation pilot aboard the USS Concord (CL-10) with the great polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd, and later during WWII as the senior naval aviator aboard the USS Alabama (BB-60) along with Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller.
Tip Tipton met his wife of 65 years, Ines (nee Boccard) in Valparaiso, Chile during the USS Concord's goodwill tour of South America in 1943. After their marriage at California's Alameda Naval Air Station in 1945, the Tipton's reared six children who were born literally throughout the Western Hemisphere in places ranging from California, to Texas, to Panama, to Maryland, and to Argentina.
Meeting and marrying Ines literally turned out to be a saving grace for then Lieutenant Tipton as he was scheduled for duty aboard the USS Indianapolis (CA-45). However, because it took two weeks for Ines to fly from Santiago, Chile to San Francisco for their wedding on July 20, 1945, the Indianapolis departed at flank speed with the first atomic bomb on board and Lt. Tipton was then re-assigned to the USS Alabama (BB-60) until after the war's conclusion. Meanwhile, after unloading the A bomb at a U.S. air base at Tinian, Indianapolis was sunk in 12 minutes by two Japanese torpedoes on July 30, 1945. The second torpedo which hit Indianapolis at mid-ship nearly ripping it in half killed all 24 assigned naval aviators. Of the 1,196 crew aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining crew of 800 faced exposure, dehydration, and tiger shark attacks while floating with no lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy only learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted by accident four days later. Only 316 sailors survived. Indianapolis was one of the last US Navy ships sunk by enemy action in World War II
After retiring from the Navy as a Commander in 1962, Senator Tipton began his second and third careers as a statesman and public school teacher. During his 26 years in government including two terms in the Indiana State Senate, he was invited to the White House on three separate occasions to meet with Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter.
Despite the historic significance of his service both in the U.S. Navy and in Government, one his proudest accomplishments was the love and admiration he gave and received from his family. Mr. Tipton was also fiercely proud of the hundreds of students whom he mentored and taught at Shakamak Junior and Senior High School and to whom he often generously awarded his coveted A++.
In addition to his wife, Ines, survivors include all six children: Linda Tipton of Jasonville, John Tipton of Jacksonville, Florida, Joseph Tipton of Washington D.C. and who currently serves in Afghanistan, Bonnie Tipton of Houston, Texas, Stephen Tipton of Jasonville, and William "Bill" Tipton of Loveland, Ohio; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren; and two brothers Bernard Tipton of Virginia and Tom Tipton of Illinois. He was predeceased by his loving parents Bernard and Cornelia Tipton, brother Don Tipton as well as his two sisters, Virginia Fernald, and Rubylee Ward and numerous nieces and nephews and cousins.
A public funeral service will be held at the Shakamak Community Church in Jasonville on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m, Saturday visitation at the church will be from noon until service time at 2 p.m. Visitation will be at the Cox Funeral Home on South Meridian Street in Jasonville on Friday evening Jan. 29 from 4 - 8 p.m. The Tipton family invites friends, former students, and the community to join them in the celebration of his life at the visitation and funeral. In keeping with Senator Tipton's wishes, memorials in lieu of flowers should be directed to the Salvation Army.