A former member of the HSU Board of Development, Forrest Wade “Pete” Tippen Sr., 93, died Monday, November 26, 2012, in Abilene.
Tippen graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in 1939 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He later served on the HSU Board of Development from 1997 to 2005.
As a student, Tippen was a member of the Cowboy Band and was instrumental in the beginnings of the HSU Six White Horses team. During a parade in which the Cowboy Band marched, Tippen joined early Abilene personality Will “Sheriff” Watson who wore full western dress and rode his white horse Silver in front of the band carrying an American flag. According to Hardin-Simmons University A Centennial History, “In the next parade, Abilene student Forrest “Pete” Tippen rode another white horse carrying the flag of Texas, and then from this, the idea grew that carrying the six flags which have flown over Texas…would be a fine tradition – finer if carried by six female students.” Thus, the tradition of the Six White Horses team was born.
On August 14, 1919, Forrest Wade was born to William W. and Ollie Mae Tippen in Mullin, Texas. He graduated from Abilene High School in 1936, and after graduation from HSU, joined the United States Air Force.
Tippen was stationed in England, Panama, Trinidad, Brazil, and India during World War II, often flying back and forth across the world including missions from India, over the treacherous Himalayas, to China. During the Korean War, he flew 52 bombing missions over North Korea, was stationed at the Pentagon, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
He married Minnie Alice Mayfield on August 22, 1950. Their early married years were spent in Arlington, Virginia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Pete earned a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Michigan.
Tippen left the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel, and he and his wife returned to Abilene where he joined Abilene Savings and Loan (later United Savings). Tippen served as president of the company many years before retiring.
Tippen served as director and board chairman of Hendrick Medical Center and was a member of First Baptist Church, Abilene, where he served as chairman of deacons, and later as deacon emeritus.
HSU president, Dr. Lanny Hall, describes Tippen as one of HSU’s finest products, “He was a respected Christian gentleman who made his alma mater proud.”
The family will have a private burial followed by a memorial service to be held Wednesday, November 28, 2012, at 2 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Abilene. Dr. Phil Christopher will officiate.
Tippen was preceded in death by his parents, William W. and Ollie Mae; his wife, Minnie Alice; and brother William Kenton “Bill” Tippen.
He is survived by this three children, Peter Tippen and wife Cathy of Dallas, Texas; Philip Tippen and wife Pamela of Abilene; and Susan Tippen Montgomery and husband Robert of Albany, Texas. His grandchildren include: Marshal, Brendan, and Ellie Tippen of Dallas; Wade and Rob Montgomery of Albany; Will Tippen and wife Kaely of Abilene; James Tippen and wife Carrie of Fort Worth; and his great grandchildren Lucy Jane and Samuel Wade Tippen. He is also survived by his sister, Norma Sue McCann of Lometa, Texas; and two sister-in-laws, Elsie Tippen of Abilene, Texas; and Jimmie Everts of San Marcus, Texas.