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Shirley M.

June 25, 1923 – October 2, 2018

Shirley Tippens Shirley Tippens
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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Lamson Funeral Home - Millinocket
"You will be forever remembered in my thoughts. RIP Shirley "
— James Sweeney

Obituary for Shirley M. Tippens

Millinocket and Bangor, Maine and Deland, Florida – Shirley Elizabeth (Miller) Tippens, 95, precious mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend, passed away peacefully at the home of her daughter on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. She was born June 25, 1923 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of Joseph John and Ann Elizabeth (Lackey) Miller.
Shirley graduated from Lowell High School in 1941where she won the English Prize for Four Years of Excellence in English, out of a graduating class of 900 students. She went on to attend Lowell State Teacher’s College where she graduated in 1945 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Shirley taught for two years in Massachusetts and spent her summers working as a waitress at resort hotels. At the age of 24 she decided to waitress one more summer and she took a job at the magnificent Bay of Naples Inn on Long Lake in western Maine where she met the love of her life, William A. Tippens. Shirley and Bill were married the following summer of 1948 in Lowell, Massachusetts. After the birth of their daughter Sally in Portland, Maine in 1952 Shirley and Bill moved to Millinocket, Bill’s hometown. Their son William A. Tippens Jr. was born in 1955 and when he started school in 1960, Shirley went back to teaching. She taught fourth grade in Millinocket for 23 years, primarily at Katahdin Avenue School. At her surprise retirement dinner party in 1983, her principal and colleague Charles Sanders delivered a tribute that included a poem he wrote titled ‘Shirley’ to honor her: “You came and stayed with quiet unassuming competence, That served to fill the rest of us with confidence, We’ll surely miss the daily presence, Of your face, Which is for us the essence, Of our understanding Grace.”
An avid reader, Shirley especially loved mysteries and poetry, the daily newspaper and crossword puzzles. She was an artist; a faithful correspondent with her siblings, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; a genealogy buff and an antique doll collector. While in Millinocket, Shirley was an active member of the Junior Literary Club, Garden Club, Delta Kappa Gamma, First Congregational Church and Mainely Dolls Club.
In 1965 she and Bill bought a rustic camp on Reed Island in North Twin Lake, where they enjoyed spending summers for over fifty years in the company of loving family and friends. Shirley referred to camp as her “favorite place on earth”.
After Shirley’s retirement, she and Bill enjoyed spending winters in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, close to where their son Bill and his family lived. They enjoyed annual trips south for many years, until the death of her husband Bill in 2001.
In 2009 Shirley moved from Millinocket to a retirement complex in Deland, Florida – Good Samaritan Society Florida Lutheran – where she made many new friends, volunteered at the library and enjoyed taking walks in the warm climate. Shirley returned to Maine in March of 2018 to live with her daughter.
Shirley will be deeply missed by her two children, Sally T. Sweeney of Bangor, Maine and William A. Tippens and his Significant Other Elaine Whitehead of Deland, Florida. She was very proud of and will be sadly missed by her five grandchildren who she loved dearly, Jay and Kelly Tippens of DeBary, FL, Sarah and Patrick McGarvey of Arlington, VA, Ryan and Pamela Sweeney of Sidney, ME, Elizabeth and Dale Blundell of Deland, FL and Emily and Blake Abbe of Manhatten, KS, all who affectionately called her “Gram”. She also leaves nine beloved great-grandchildren, Melanie and Brandon Tippens, Kylee and Alex Abbe, Dale and Avery Blundell, Ava and Noah Sweeney, and Piper McGarvey, as well as many loving nieces and nephews, many of whom she saw annually at the Miller Family Reunion at Wallis Sands, New Hampshire.
In addition to her parents and husband Bill, Shirley was predeceased by her sisters Alice Bahn, Ethel Hannula, Charlotte Williams and Phyllis Miller and her two brothers Joseph and Richard Miller, Sister-in-Law Margaret Tippens Grant and Brother-in-Law Frederick E. Tippens.
Special thanks to dear family member Cecile Beaulieu and her family for hosting many birthday and holiday gatherings where Shirley was lovingly honored and included in her later years. The family would also like to thank Kelley Coon, Shirley’s caregiver from Visiting Angels, who cared for her with love, humor and dignity during the final six months of her life.
As stated by a granddaughter, “The strongest, sweetest woman in my life. I’ll try my hardest to carry a little of that grace and strength each day forward.” Shirley had a beautiful soul and was a loving and generous role model for her family. She lived her life with grace and selflessness, enriching and guiding all those around her. She left this world a better place and will remain in our hearts forever.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Shirley’s Life will be held at the First Congregational Church, Millinocket, Maine officiated by Rev. Terry Given, on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. followed by the committal of her ashes at Millinocket Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Shirley’s memory may be made to First Congregational Church, 274 Katahdin Avenue, Millinocket, Maine 04462 or Millinocket Memorial Library, 5 Maine Avenue, Millinocket, Maine 04462.
Arrangements provided by Lamson Funeral Home.

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Service Information

Saturday, June 29th, 2019 11:00am
Rev. Terry Given
First Congregational Church of Millinocket
274 Katahdin Avenue
Millinocket, ME 04462

Interment Information

Millinocket, ME 04462