Roger Alan Shipley
Oct 19, 1947 - Jul 19, 2019
Roger Alan Shipley
Oct 19, 1947 - Jul 19, 2019
Roger Alan Shipley was born in Akron, Ohio on October 19, 1947 and died on July 19, 2019 in Bellingham, WA. He graduated from Kenmore High School and Oberlin College. He received a tuition, board, and books scholarship from the Ford Motor Company Foundation. He met his wife of 50 years, Gayle Wilson Shipley, at Case Institute of Technology, and they were married on June 14, 1969 in the chapel at Oberlin.
For many years, Roger taught English and wood shop at the North Shore Country Day School (NSCDS) in Winnetka, IL. Theater was a passion, and he directed the stage crew at NSCDS, and founded, named and ran the Diller Street Theater.
Through the 1970’s and 80’s, he created a technical theater experience for his students. He designed and constructed sets, designed and hung lighting, and designed and silk-screened posters and programs for every show, except when he was guiding a student in the process. Shows included an annual Gilbert and Sullivan opera. During that time, he was also the technical director for the North Shore Theater Company, the Glenview Theater Company, and was half owner of the Pony Express Theater Company, which performed around the Chicago area.
Roger was immensely creative with a vast array of interests. He was an expert woodworker and cabinet maker, as well as a wood sculptor. He wrote poetry, short stories, and several unpublished science fiction books, including tales of his favorite intergalactic hero, Roderick Rocket. Later in life, he created contemporary political essays published under the pseudonym, the Willowbrook Curmudgeon, providing singular depth and clarity. Roger’s other creative projects included fly tying, building computer-controlled radio towers, chainsaw carving, building and flying model planes, and 3D computer modeling.
For several years, he owned a cabinet shop in Northfield, IL, R.A. Shipley Furniture, and also launched Willowbrook Woodworks in Bellingham, WA. At Western Washington University in Bellingham, he served as the director of the Performing Arts Facility, taught stage-craft classes, and led students in building sets, working back-stage, and managing the box office.
Roger is survived by his wife, Gayle Shipley, of Bellingham, WA; his daughter, Amber Shipley and partner, J O’Malley; his son, Art Shipley and partner, Emma Kent; his brothers Gary Shipley, and John Shipley and wife Lori Shipley; his sister, Kathy Shipley and partner Jack Henry, as well as his aunt, Lillian Minor. Nieces and nephews include: Jessica Shipley and wife, Rhi Clark; Doug Shipley and wife, Julie Shipley; Kate Shipley and fiancé, Sam Richey; Meg Henry; and Christina Cassidy and husband, Sean Cassidy.
He was predeceased by his mother, Louise Irene Shipley; his father, Guy Elmer Shipley; and his grandparents, Harley and Cordie Sutter, and Raymond and Stella Shipley.
Roger was an Eagle Scout who worked high school summers at Camp Manatoc in Ohio and attended Philmont Scout Ranch in 1964 in New Mexico, his first trip to the mountains. Roger believed deeply in scouting as a means to develop character. He was Scoutmaster of Troop 4019 in Geneva, and presided over the 75th anniversary ceremonies of the troop in 2000.
Roger also was an amateur radio operator for most of his adult life, KA9NAH (now a silent key). In the 1980’s he taught himself electronics and physics so he could build his own home-designed and constructed satellite tracking equipment using computers of the day and electronics and other parts he salvaged, and he heard Owen Garriott aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1983. In 2008, Owen’s son, Richard, confirmed contact of KA9NAH 250 miles up in space, going 17,000 MPH aboard the International Space Station – a highlight of Roger’s amateur radio career. In 2013, QST magazine published his article, “Microcontrollers – No Experience Necessary,” on programming Arduinos for use in amateur radio.
Later in life, Roger thought designing, constructing, decorating, and flying radio-controlled model airplanes were fun activities, and he built and decorated a number of sky-worthy foam-core planes. His last plane was a scale model of the First World War biplane, the S. E. 5, for which he designed and printed a cockpit and pilot with his 3-D printer.
Roger lived with a deep sense of integrity and a need for speaking the truth as he saw it. He loved his family fiercely. He took pride in his heritage and history. He spent his time making things, solving problems, thinking critically, being outdoors, and gathering with friends for Friday night fires.
A memorial service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, September 7, 2019 at Moles Farewell Tributes on Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, WA. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, The ARRL Foundation, or The Penfield Foundation.
- Date & Time: Sep 07, 2019 (2 PM)
Venue: Moles Farewell Tributes - Bellingham
Location: 2465 Lakeway Drive Bellingham, WA 98229