OBITUARY

Dr. Robert H. Shipp MD

June 10, 1926September 8, 2019

Dr. Robert H. Shipp, MD; Col. (Ret.) USAF Medical Corps, died September 8, 2019. He was born in 1926 in Louisville, KY, the only child of Reuben H. Shipp and Mary Frances Pulliam. Fortunate to be raised in the neighborhood of Crescent Hill, he was a proud product of Emmet Field Elem., Barrett Jr. High and June 1944 class of DuPont Manual HS. He was a member of the National Honor Society and Mitre Club, the State Champion in 220 yard dash and the 440 yard relay team on well-rounded 1944 State Champion DuPont Manual track team. He was selected as Poet Laureate of Senior Class and as senior counselor at YMCA Camp Piomingo. Before graduation from Manual, he volunteered for the Navy, was tested for V-12, and after graduation was assigned to the US Navy V-12 Officer Training Program at Berea College, July 1, 1944. After one year, he was transferred to the Navy V-12 Program at Central Michigan College in Mt. Pleasant, MI for one trimester where he earned a letter as halfback on the very excellent 6-1 football team. He was transferred to Navy ROTC at Univ. of Michigan until Dec. 1945; after the war ended, he requested transfer to Great Lakes Boot Camp, then he was assigned to LSM (Landing Ship, Medium) #390 at Sausalito, CA. He had helmsman and deck crew duty and was acting Pharmacist Mate. On July 1946, he made the memorable trip through the Panama Canal to Mobile, AL for ship decommissioning and Honorable Discharge at St. Louis, MO on August 2, 1946. Via the GI Bill, he immediately enrolled at Georgetown College in KY, where Brad Jones, long-time Manual track coach was the athletic director, track and golf coach. Robert was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, lettered in track and was a member of KIAC State Champion mile relay team, 1947. As a student newspaper sports writer and college Sports Information Director, he sold enough radio advertising to necessitate the construction of the first radio broadcasting booth for the Georgetown College football stadium. He graduated in June of 1948 with a BA in Psychology and Sociology. Robert was blessed and proud to serve as Certified YMCA Adult Program/Membership Director for five years in Louisville and in Knoxville, TN. In Knoxville, while working fulltime at YMCA, he enrolled in evening pre-med classes at UT while applying to the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He was admitted July, 1955 and graduated Doctor of Medicine in September, 1958. While in medical school he was awarded USPHS and Lederle Fellowships for basic research in pharmacology. The last two years he worked every third night or weekend as extern at Baptist Hospital in Memphis, TN. He was a member of Phi Rho Sigma Medical Fraternity and was elected Treasurer of the senior class. He had a rotating internship at Midstate Baptist Hospital in Nashville from October ’58 to September ’59. He administered anesthesia for charity surgical cases and OB deliveries and received excellent training by the hospital’s private anesthesiology group and was employed by the group for a month for internship. He then moved to Shelbyville, KY, where he administered anesthesia most mornings and practiced family medicine in the afternoons. He performed over 2000 anesthetics during the next decade, without any cardiac arrest, anesthetic deaths or complications. After his internship, he primarily practiced anesthesia, family medicine, and part-time occupational medicine at several locations in KY and TN; then from 1971 he practiced full-time occupational medicine as TVA staff physician in Nashville. He was Medical Director at Chevrolet Assembly plant in St. Louis; and staff physician in the Medical Dept. at GE Appliance Park in Louisville. November 1975, he again volunteered to serve his country and was commissioned Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, accompanied by his wife, Farra Mai Summers Shipp, who had been employed as a registered nurse at Baptist Hospital ER and in the Medical Department at GE Appliance Park. During his first two years assignment to Hill AFB Hospital in Ogden, UT, he graduated from the AF Aerospace Medicine Primary Course as Flight Surgeon, then was appointed Asst. Chief of Hospital Services, and in 1977 was promoted to Colonel. He was then assigned to Minot AFB in ND, as Chief Hospital Services and Flight Surgeon. For the next ten years he was commander of USAF Hospitals at George AFB in Victorville, CA; Hahn AB in Germany; and a marvelous three year assignment to the USAF Clinic at Aviano AB in Italy. For the next six years he was assigned to Andrews AFB in Washington, DC as Chief Primary Care Clinic and then the Primary Care Clinic at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio. The medical facilities he commanded or directed were recognized for increased productivity and for many innovative policies, enhanced medical staff training and advancements resulting in high quality patient care: the ultimate goal in the practice of medicine. Early in his AF career he was certified by examinations as Diplomate, American Board of Family Practice, 1976-1982; recertified by exam 1982-1989 and 1989-1996. He was also certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support for 10 years. As Flight Surgeon, he was inducted into the Society of Wild Weasels in December, 1981. The Society is a select organization of flyers trained in electronic “seek and destroy” flying missions against missile and anti-aircraft sites, in specially equipped Wild Weasel (fighter) aircraft, F-4G’s at the time. He logged 335 hours flight time in F-4D/G model jet fighters, Huey helicopters and B-52 jet bombers, as a Flight Surgeon. Robert was awarded AF Small Arms Expert Marksman Ribbon; four AF Longevity Service Award Ribbons; two AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbons; a WWII Victory Medal (Navy); WWII American Campaign Medal (Navy); two AF Outstanding Unit Awards; two AF Meritorious Service Medals, and the prestigious AF Legion of Merit Medal. He retired as Colonel, USAF and from the active practice of medicine in Kerrville, TX, January 1, 1994. He was a member of the TN State Board, American Cancer Society (ACS) from 1972-73; KY State Board, ACS, 1974-75; Chairman of the Public Education Committee, ACS in Jefferson Co., KY, 1974-75; and was a Life Member of American Academy of Family Practice. He served as President of Optimist Clubs in Shelbyville, KY in 1960 and in Kingsport, TN in 1962. He authored the medical articles “The Sensible 9-S Diet”, “How to Reduce Your Patient Load and Increase Your Productivity”, and “Breast Examinations with Pap Smears”. He also wrote, “Glenn Draper: His Music Changed Lives”, 233 pp, published by Providence House Publishers, July 2003; and “Mountain Boys to Admirals: The Berea College Navy V-12 Program in WWII”, 238 pp, published by Berea College Printing Service, May 2007. Soon after retiring from the Air Force, he became a Charter Advisory committee member of the nationally recognized Main Street Program of Kerrville, TX. He also actively served on the Berea College Navy V-12 Memorial Scholarship Award Fund Executive Committee for many years, serving as Chairperson for four years. As a result of the fundraising among former Berea V-12er’s, Berea College annually awards two senior students, cost-of-education Navy V-12/V-5 scholarships. Dr. Shipp and his wife, Farra Mai Summers Shipp, resided in Kerrville, TX from 1991 until returning to Louisville in January, 2005. He was a member of Broadway Baptist Church, always enjoying their excellent choir. He became a Tennessee Squire in April, 1962 and a Kentucky Colonel in November, 1975. Surviving him are Farra Mai Summers Shipp, his ever-forgiving, loving wife and best friend of over 40 years; daughters Robyn, Marty, Holly, and Greer; son Robert H. Jr.; sister, Pat Shipp Scott (Tom); and five grandchildren. A service to honor and celebrate Dr. Shipp’s life will be conducted at 1:00 PM Wednesday, September 11, 2019 in the Chapel of Broadway Baptist Church, 4000 Brownsboro Rd. Family and friends may gather at the church from 12:00 PM until the time of the service on Wednesday. Private inurnment will take place at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central in Radcliff, KY. Berea College, the West End School and the YMCA of Great Louisville are suggested donors in lieu of flowers. Arch L. Heady Cralle Funeral Home, 2428 Frankfort Ave. is in charge of the arrangements.

  • DONATIONS

  • YMCA of Greater Louisville
  • Berea College
  • The West End School

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, September 11, 2019
  • Memorial Service Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Memories

Dr. Robert H. Shipp MD

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