Jim Tippens, 87, passed away peacefully at home under the loving care of his family on August 29, 2010. Born April 6, 1923, he grew up in Nashville, TN and Glenside, PA. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, and a Master’s of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. As a Presbyterian minister he served in Cullman and Oxford, Alabama; as Director of Camp New Hope in Orange County, NC; and as a minister in Waynesboro, VA. He retired to Orange County in 1989, became a landscape painter and delivered meals to the homebound for Weaver Street Market. A gifted musician, Jim played saxophone in a combo in the 1950s, led songs around many campfires, played harmonica at church, and won awards for his whistling and warbling. Saying, “We are all God’s children,” he was an early and ardent proponent of racial justice and reconciliation. He reveled in connecting young people and families to the glory of God as revealed in the natural world – he called that ministry his Vocation and Vacation. To the end of his days, he spoke beautiful prayers. The theme of his sermons was the grace of God’s unconditional love. Throughout his life, Jim was a champion punster. He would no doubt finish this notice with, “Drive cheerfully!”
Jim is survived by his wife of 56 years, Doris Sullivan Tippens, and his children Mary O’Dwyer (husband Tom), Betsy Reinitz (husband Mark), and Jamey Tippens (wife Nettie Lassiter) and six grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank members of the Church of Reconciliation, aides Simon Sielei and Scott Cowart, friends, and staff of UNC Hospice for their loving care.
A memorial service will be held at the Church of Reconciliation on Saturday, September 11 at 11 a.m. Those considering a contribution may donate to the JSR Tippens Scholarship Fund at Columbia Theological Seminary, Box 520, Decatur, GA 30031 or to the New Hope Camp and Conference Center Annual Fund in memory of Jim Tippens, 4805 NC 86, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.