Alfred's Story

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Alfred Shipley was born on March 3, 1922 in Dumbarton, Scotland, the youngest of nine children to parents, Anna Marie (Storey) and Edward Shipley. At age 5, he traveled by ship across the Atlantic Ocean with his mother and five of his siblings, landing at Ellis Island. He then traveled to Indiana where they joined his father who was already working at a steel mill.
In 1940 Alfred graduated from Emerson High School in Gary, Indiana. When Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Alfred enlisted in the Army Air Corp. He saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, India and China, earning 5 Bronze Stars, and serving our country proudly for more than 17 years. He was honorably discharged as a Master Sargent, and an esteemed graduate of the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy.
He married his first wife, Florence (Freeman) of Crow Point, Indiana while he was in the service. They had five children: Sandra (Roger) Knight, Beth (Ronald) Martin, Michael Shipley, Suzanne (Richard) Kenney and Constance (John) Secor.
In 1971 he became the director of NASA's National Scientific Balloon Base in Palestine, Texas where under his leadership the operation made remarkable technological advancements. He was awarded the NASA Public Service Award for outstanding managerial competence, leadership and technical initiatives. He retired in 1987 from the balloon base; however his life work was later recognized when he was awarded the Otto C. Winzen Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions and achievements in the advancement of the free flight balloon system and related technology.
In 1991 he married his second wife Betty (Skirrow). They enjoyed traveling together between Florida and New Hampshire. They took 3 cruises and they joined golf clubs in Texas, Florida, and New Hampshire. They then settled in Humble, Texas.
He is preceded in death by his first wife Florence, infant son Alfred, daughter Constance Secor, grandson Christopher Wortham, as well as his parents, and siblings.
He is survived by his wife of more than 25 years Betty Shipley; daughters, Sandra and husband Roger Knight of Palestine, Texas, Beth and husband Ronald Martin of Waller, Texas, Suzanne and husband Richard Kenney of Stuart, Florida; and son Michael Shipley of Tyler, Texas; step-daughter Gwen and her husband Denis Poirier of Humble, Texas; and step-son Gary Pihlkrantz of Narragansett, Rhode Island. He leaves behind 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Visitation services will be held at Darst Funeral Home in Kingwood, Texas on Sunday evening, January 1st from 6:00-8:00 pm. Funeral services will follow on Monday morning, January 2nd at 10:00 am. An interment service for the family will be held at Roselawn Park in Palestine, Tx. Pallbearers will be: Denis Poirier, Chris Wiggin, Gary Pihlkrantz, Ron Martin, Roger Knight, John Stains and Scott Fletcher.
The family wishes to thank Sandy Watson and Stacey Newman of Tricare Hospice. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Alfred's name to: Tricare Hospice 605 Rockmead Dr. Kingwood, Texas 77339. For more information about the life of Alfred Shipley, to sign the online register book, or to offer your condolences or fond memories of Mr. Shipley to the family, please visit www.DarstFuneralHome.com.
Published on January 4, 2017
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