HENRY B. TIPPIE
Henry B. Tippie passed away peacefully on Feb. 20, 2022.
Henry was born on a farm near Belle Plaine, Iowa, on Jan. 5, 1927, to Robert and Amelia Tippie. He attended a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade and graduated from Belle Plaine High School in 1944. He enlisted at age 17 in the Army Air Forces. He received the Army Commendation Medal while stationed in Guam.
The World War II G.I. Bill made it possible for him to attend The University of Iowa, graduating in August 1949 with an accounting degree after 24 consecutive calendar months of study.
In 1955 he met his future partner and best friend, Patricia Bush, from New Castle, Pennsylvania. They were married on June 27, 1956, and became the parents of Henry II, Helen, and Linda. In 2005 he funded the Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center at Allegheny College in her honor.
He obtained his first employment in Des Moines, with a small accounting firm. After gaining enough experience to take the CPA test, he moved to Omaha, Neb., joining a large regional CPA firm. In early 1953, he joined John W. and O. Wayne Rollins in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He was instrumental in taking the first Rollins company public in 1960, known as Rollins Broadcasting, Inc. Later, Rollins purchased Orkin Exterminating Company, Inc., considered the first major leveraged buyout in American business history. He was a co-incorporator of Rollins Truck Leasing Corp., which became the third-largest company of its type in the United States. Henry also provided leadership for several decades to Dover Motorsports, a NASCAR sanctioned motorsports events promoter.
Henry moved to Austin, Texas, in 1971, and set up Kingstip, Inc., the first Austin, Texas, headquartered company listed on any major stock exchange. This company consisted of Kingstip Communications, owner of the Austin NBC and Featherlite Building Products. Later, he formed Tippie Communications, Inc., which owned radio stations in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and Colorado Springs.
He was involved with 12 different publicly owned companies during his business career. Almost all were small companies and, for the most part, had not had any prior history of success. Ultimately, many became large companies, including several listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He got great enjoyment in taking other people’s business failures and making them successful. The New York Stock Exchange inducted Henry into the Wall of Fame in 2018.
In 1973, Henry established Tippie Ranch near Georgetown, Texas, with subsequent expansion in 1984 to Limestone County. He always felt agriculture kept him down to earth and enjoyed his relationships with the people in the rural areas. Ranching provided a constant reminder of growing up on a dairy farm in Iowa.
Henry was a strong believer in education. Over the years, he provided over 900 scholarships, professorships, faculty chairs, and fellowships at The University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, Coe College and Allegheny College. The University of Iowa College of Business was renamed the Henry B. Tippie College of Business in 1999. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at The University of Iowa and Allegheny College. In 2021, Henry and Patricia received The Council of Independent Colleges Award for Philanthropy. Henry has been a Life Member of the Commemorative Air Force since 1977, and last year on Veterans Day, the Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center was dedicated in Dallas. The Center focuses on hands-on experiential learning grounded in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
He received the Horatio Alger Award in 1996, honoring those who come from humble beginnings and become leaders in their professions. He was later elected to the Junior Achievement Eastern Iowa Hall of Fame.
Henry was a long-time member of the St. John’s United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, a member of the Granite-Corinthian Lodge 34, the Delaware Consistory and the NUR Shrine in Wilmington, Del. Henry was a life member of the American Legion, VFW, Iowa Society of CPAs, American Accounting Association and Financial Executives Institute.
While he never moved back to Iowa, Henry always remembered his roots. He supported his hometown as a contributor to the Belle Plaine Iowa Community Library, the Mansfield Tippie Airport, and the Belle Plaine Museum. The museum added the Henry B. Tippie Annex with memorabilia from his childhood to his 90th birthday.
Henry is survived by his wife, Patricia; son, Henry II and his wife, Judie and grandchildren, Ashley, Abbie and Henry III; daughter, Helen and her husband, Brian Smith and grandchildren, Blake, Travis and Holly; daughter, Linda and her husband, James Forrest and grandchildren, Kyle, John and Michael; together with 11 great-grandchildren.
Preceding in death were his parents, Robert W. and Amelia Bokholt Tippie; and brothers, Ernest and Robert.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Hrabak-Neuhaus Funeral Service, 1704 7th Ave Belle Plaine, Iowa. Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.neuhausfuneralservice.com.
Celebration of Life service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 5, with military honors. Service will also be livestreamed through Hrabak-Neuhaus Funeral Service Facebook page. Private family burial will take place at Oak Hill Cemetery, Belle Plaine.
A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 12, at St. Johns United Methodist Church, Austin, Texas. The service will be livestreamed to Saint John’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/saintjohnsaustin.
In lieu of flowers, suggested donations may be made to St. John’s United Methodist Church Endowment, Austin, Texas; Belle Plaine Historical Society, Belle Plaine, Iowa; Commemorative Air Force, Dallas, Texas; Tippie College of Business, Iowa City, Iowa; Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa.