Walt and Ardell Shippy   

Walter Clyde Shippy

Walt Shippy, 92, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 7, 2019.  He was born in McMinnville, Oregon on June 12, 1927 to John Walter Shippy and Mabel Shippy (Christensen).  Walt grew up in nearby Dayton, where his father ran the local mercantile. Being an only child, and being the only boy among numerous cousins, he was adored by his parents and extended family.  Walt tragically lost both his parents shortly before graduating from Dayton High School in 1945.  He joined the Navy that summer, and would serve until 1949, attaining the rank of 2nd Class Petty Officer.   

On leave for the holidays in 1948, Walt visited his uncle in Stevenson, Washington and was introduced to his cousin’s best friend Ardell. On New Year’s Eve, with Walt’s cousin and friend, the four drove to Hayden Island, Portland to attend a dance.  Ardell and Walt shared a kiss at midnight, fell in love and were married the following September.  They would remain so for 70 years.  

Following his service, Walt began studies at Oregon State College (University), but he was soon called back to the Navy for the Korean conflict.  He and his wife (and baby) headed for Honolulu, and for the next two years they resided near Pearl Harbor. 

The Shippy’s returned to Corvallis and Walt completed his electrical engineering degree in 1954.  After accepting a job with Hughes Aircraft Company they moved to southern California.  The 1960s was an exciting time for the aerospace industry and Walt worked on the Surveyor program, which culminated with the first successful soft moon landing.

 In 1970 Walt moved his family to Aurora, Colorado, as Hughes had a new facility there. Living near the Rocky Mountains, he developed a passion for skiing and was active in that sport into his eighties.  

Walt retired from Hughes in 1985.  He and Ardell yearned to return to the Willamette Valley, so in 1991 they purchased five acres above Amity and built their dream home.  They would reside there for 15 years until moving to McMinnville.  Walt was a volunteer docent at Evergreen Aviation Museum (ironically the home of Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose). 

He shared his many talents with his boys, teaching them electrical and mechanical skills.  He took his family camping and boating in California, Oregon, Utah and Colorado, teaching them how to waterski and fish.  He went on outings with Indian Guides and Boy Scouts. He demonstrated to his sons the value of honesty and integrity.  

Walt was a loving and dedicated husband. He and Ardell enjoyed gardening, traveling in their RV and making their home beautiful. Walt was a gentle spirit, humble and earnest. He died peacefully in his sleep in Salem and will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Walt is survived by his wife Ardell, his three sons, six granddaughters, one grandson and two great-grandsons. 

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