He grew up alongside his older sisters, Evelyn, Eileen, Helen, Bonita and Dortha and younger sister, Carol in the Whitley County area. Bill graduated from Columbia City High School with the Class of 1950. Bill served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War where he received a Korean Service Ribbon with a Bronze Service Star; United Nations Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal. He was the former owner of Gipe’s IGA in South Whitley and had worked at Jones Bakery, Shelton IGA, Zollner Piston and retired from Dana Corporation with 17 years of service.
On May 3, 1978, he married Sandra L. Irons in Columbia City. He had lived in Athens, Ga. for 10 years, and Cleveland, Tenn. before he moved to Fort Wayne in 1998.
Bill was a lifetime member of VFW and American Legion, both of Churubusco and the Jaycees in Columbia City. He was a talented musician who enjoyed playing the piano and was an avid stock car and NASCAR racing fan. He loved his Siamese cats, being outdoors and taking care of his yard.
Survivors include his children: Jeff (Deb) Gipe, Columbia City; Jo Anne (Tom) Fey, Columbia City; James R. (Betty) Gipe, Fort Wayne; Julie Gipe, Columbia City; and Thomas (Tina) Papenbrook Jr., Churubusco; sisters: Dortha Mae Marsh, Columbia City; Carol Bower, Clemmons, N.C.; 14 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife: Sandy Gipe; sisters: Eileen Fox; Helen Hazen; Bonita Miller; Evelyn Tolliver; a grandson: Brian S. Fey; and first wife: R. Darlene Egloff.
Visitation will be from 2-6 p.m. Monday, May 30, at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, at the funeral home with Sharon Brockhaus officiating. He will be laid to rest next to his wife Sandy at St. Matthew’s Cemetery where the Whitley County Korean Veterans Honor Guard will render military honors.
Memorial gifts may be given in his memory to the Humane Society of Whitley County.