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Richard R. Hipple

August 8, 1927 — March 4, 2014

Richard R. Hipple

Robert Richard "Dick" "PapPap" Hipple was born August 8th 1927 in the town of Oakmont PA. He was the only son of Robert and Winona Clifford Hipple and was raised along with his five fun loving sisters in Oakmont PA. He grew up on the shores of the Allegheny River and spent his idyllic childhood living like Huck Finn. His stories about the giant paddle wheelers, swimming, building rafts and his unauthorized borrowing of a canoe were straight out of a Mark Twain novel. Throughout his entire life when he needed an escape from stress or pain, he would always imagine himself back in his happy place......he would again be laying on the warm sand along the Allegheny River after a swim with the warm sun on his back listening to the sounds of the water slapping up against the sides of the barges as he rested with his eyes closed. He said he could remember every detail of that moment and would go back there in his mind whenever he needed to find peace and solace. His birthplace and boyhood hometown of Oakmont was, and still is, straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. His memories and stories were rich with detail about the Hulton Bridge, roller skating, swimming in the Willows Pool and sledding down Ann Street in the winter. Growing up during the depression had a lifelong impact on him. After being forced to eat onions for breakfast lunch and dinner during hard times, he swore he would never eat another onions again. The only exception was just last year when his dear friends Charlie and Carrie invited him to dinner. He said he would have never eaten them but he didn't want to hurt Charles's feelings. It was hard for him to later admit that they were actually good and he gave all the credit to Charlie's special way of hiding them in the hamburger. That says a lot about what he thought of Charlie......no one, not even his beloved wife could get him to eat onions no matter how hard she tried. As he grew up in Oakmont he held many jobs. He was always an honest hard worker and had no trouble finding employment. His jobs included working at Edgewater Steel, as a mechanic and at Scaife & Sons Steelworks, but he would always get bored and was trying to improve himself so he would move on. His father once joked that he did things backwards. Instead of first going to work locally in Oakmont and then having to commute farther and farther each time he would change jobs, he should have gotten his first job in Pittsburgh and then worked his way back toward Oakmont. Because Richard wasn't a big man and because he didn't have the best education he always said he had to work twice as hard as everyone else. He arrived earlier and stayed later and made himself indispensable. At seventeen he lied about his age and enlisted in the army. He served in the 4th Armored Division from 1945 until he was discharged in 1952. He loved everything about the army and from the stories he told, it was the best time of his life. He served in the US. Constabulary which was an arm of he military that served as a police force to help the German people with the transition of power after the war. The Constabulary set high standards and troopers were selected from the best soldiers available. They were trained as both soldiers and policeman at the Constabulary School in Sonthofen Germany. After his training, he was stationed in Schwabach Germany where he grew to love the people and the culture. Later in life he enjoyed looking at the satellite images on Google earth of Germany and he would recount the memories that he cherished. There always seemed to be a motorcycle and a pretty German girl in each and every story. During his years in the service he went back to Oakmont and fell in love. Catherine Sheaffer and her family lived above the motorcycle shop where he worked and for him it was love at first sight. She had another boyfriend at the time but that didn't stop him from pursuing and eventually winning her over. They ran off and got married August 18, 1949. Soon they were blessed with a daughter, Susan Catherine Hipple who was born in 1950. Leaving his wife and daughter when he had to return to Germany was a difficult thing but he never questioned the call to serve. Once out of the Army he needed to find a way to support his young family and had heard about the opportunities in California. Leaving his wife and daughter behind, he drove to California to make his fortune. He got a job in the construction business. He started out as a framer and it wasn't long before he was running jobs. He sent for his wife and daughter as soon as possible and they made a good life for themselves in Southern California. A second daughter, June Ann Hipple was born in 1953. Throughout his professional career, He was always counted on to bring in his jobs on time and under budget and he did not disappoint. Richard and his wife Catherine retired in 1987 and moved to Colorado. His love affair with Colorado began decades before with his annual deer hunting trips. At any given time you could ask him how long until your next deer hunting trip and he knew exactly to the day, as if he were a child counting down the days until Christmas. During his retirement in Colorado both he and his wife worked at the Broadmoor Hotel in the ice arena. She in the Pro Shop and he as the guy with the whistle that keep all the young skaters in line. He was actually more like the Pied Piper with the little kids adoring him and following him everywhere. They also befriended the elite in the skating world and because most were away from home in training they would come to their house to eat a home cooked meal on occasion. Jill Trenary still called him frequently to check on him. His retirement in Colorado was cut short with the illness of his wife. In 1992 they moved to Texas to be near their daughter so that she could help care for her ailing mother. Richard became her primary nurse and caregiver until her death in 1996. Tragedy struck again in 1997 with the loss of his grandson. To fill both his mind and time after losing his wife and grandson he started racing Legend cars. He had raced cars before during his time in the Army when he was stationed in Oklahoma. Legend racing became the center of his world. The friends and camaraderie he found there filled his life. Sadly, although he had stopped smoking at age 50, he had been a heavy smoker and the damage was done. As a result, he never missed the chance to tell a young person about the dangers of smoking. He was diagnosed with COPD but never let it stop him from doing what he loved, racing legend cars. As a result of his illness he never missed an opportunity to warn young people about the dangers of smoking. As his health started to deteriorate, instead of slowing down, he only wanted to race faster. Texas Motor Speedway was the center of his universe and continued to be even after his days of racing ended. After an extended hospital stay he was given the gift of membership to use the gym at Texas Motor Speedway. You could set the clock by his visits. He spent most days at the gym holding his oxygen tank while walking on the treadmill or riding the bike. Later he would just drive there and drink coffee with his friends. He was and always has been an inspiration. He worked hard at his job as a young man to support his family, later he worked hard caring for his wife and he continued to work hard later in life in an effort to maintain his own health. His family would like to thank Dr Rani Anbarasu. For over fifteen years Dr Anbarasu and her nurse Vickie gave PapPap exceptional care and allowed him to enjoy his life to the fullest measure possible. He is survived by one sister Dorothy Watkins of Westmorland PA and daughter Susan Catherine Phillips and her spouse Reese White of Las Vegas NV. Her father was very proud of Susan and her accomplishments as a nurse. She was a comfort to him in his last days as she lovingly cared for him. He is also survived by his daughter June Ann McGee and her husband Freddie who now live in Granbury Texas. June is grateful to have been able to live next to her father on the ranch in Justin for the last twenty five years of his life. He is also survived by his three grandchildren. Kelly Alires who was always very special to him because she was his first grandchild. kelly's spouse is Michael Rich. Richard Jaramillo who was his first grandson made him especially proud when he followed in his footsteps and served in the Army. Richard's spouse is Susan Noe. Maddie McGee, his youngest granddaughter who when he saw her sing in her school musical it was, in his words, "one of the happiest days of his life". He is also survived by five great grandchildren, Michael Rich, Catherine Sanchez, Christina Rich, Devon Jaramillo Chase Jaramillo and one step great grandchild Alana Noe Jaramillo. He is preceded in death by his wife Catherine Hipple, his grandson, John Roberts, his parents Robert and Winona Hipple and his four sisters, Ruth Groover, Jeanette McClusky, Eyvonne Harlow and Alice Vance. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Richard R. Hipple please visit our Sympathy Store.
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