In Memory of
Gene Francis Tipsword
January 13, 1936–April 30, 2018
Gene Francis Tipsword of Jefferson, Oregon is no longer with us. He slipped the earthly bonds of life in the early morning hours of April 30, 2018.
Gene resided at his home in the rural Jefferson area these last forty-five years with his wife Edie Tipsword, raising three children along the way.
Gene was so many things that confining him to a brief page proves difficult. At his core he was an artist, a humorist, and a creator. He engineered, built, and restored; his canvases being metal sculpture, oils and antique British sports cars–becoming internationally known in the vintage Austin Healey and Jaguar communities as the irascible authority on their proper care and feeding. His finished works are in collections in several corners of the world.
Gene Tipsword was born January 13, 1936 to Everett Orville Tipsword and Barbara Esther Tipsword (nee’ Uhlman) in Cottage Grove Oregon. He was the eldest of five siblings who were raised in the coast range mountain town of Alsea, Oregon. He grew up working in and around the woods of Alsea, and in 1954 enlisted in the Navy as a pipe fitter. Gene served with distinction aboard the USS Yellowstone and deployed to the Mediterranean twice during his enlistment. His service was between March 9, 1954 through December 13, 1957 achieving the rank of Petty Officer 3rd class and eligible for Petty Officer 2nd at the time of his separation. As a glance toward his future as a graphic artist he was the illustrator for his commands cruise book, his humor being the hallmark of his future work.
Upon his separation from active duty Gene returned to Alsea once again working in forest products, but just long enough until he gained employment welding. During this portion of his career he took art classes from several colleges, which provided him the stepping-stones towards the things he loved the most, that of creating. He worked several jobs in between before he found his landing point with the state of Oregon, working for Oregon Department of Transportation for twenty-seven and a half years in the Graphics Arts Department. Gene received several state and national awards and recognitions for his work throughout the years. Of particular significance, Gene provided the graphical design and Environmental Impact Statement for the Bend Parkway environmental book and the 1969 Fair Display that went to Washington, D.C. and Canada, the latter being something he was especially proud of. Gene was also called upon to provide retirement caricatures for so many of the State employees during his tenure. He enjoyed this as it allowed his more colorful and humorous side to shine.
Gene retired from State service in 1995 taking up his tools to focus on his art and restoration work. This was a very productive period in which he created several pieces of metal sculpture and produced two Austin Healeys that were accepted and sold through Barrett Jackson.
Gene’s talents extended to music as well. He was a self-taught musician and could play the frets off the guitar and five string banjos (and pretty darn near any other stringed instrument he touched). He was a member of several bands throughout his life, both in the Navy and while working for the state of Oregon.
One of the many business ventures he pursued was Green Bridge Music Company, where he customized high-end Ome five string banjos. He ran this business successfully for several years.
Gene was quick witted and possessed a terrific sense of humor. He also loved a good practical joke. Throughout his working years Gene was known for making and attaching paper angel wings, monkey tails and/or parrots to his co-workers clothing as they headed out the door. On the home front, it was not uncommon to leave Gene’s house with a bumper sticker, sometimes homemade, attached to your car. Often times they were put somewhere that would go un-noticed for weeks if not months. Gene also enjoyed playing Cards Against Humanity with his family. Hearing his laughter fill the house will be greatly missed.
In later life Gene faced several health challenges, which he took on like so many things in his life with a torrent of verbiage and lots of focus. Ultimately these brought us to where we are today.
Gene is survived by his wife of an indeterminant number of years (per moms wishes)… but it’s a looong time, Sons Brian Tipsword and his wife Liz of Canby, Eric Tipsword of Salem and Daughter Michelle Tipsword-Injety and her husband Rajesh of Albany, six Grandchildren Jennifer Nelson of Las Vegas NV, Tawnie Somday of St Louis MO, Ashely Mead of Portland, Jameson Mead of Oceanside CA, Wyatt Mead of Canby, Morgan Mead of Canby, five Great Grandchildren, Sister Janette Roberts (Tipsword) of Corvallis, Brothers Randy Tipsword and his wife Marie of Albany, Robert Tipsword of Corvallis, Plus many Nieces and Nephews as well as four dogs and seven cats (yes he liked cats and other assorted critters).
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved poodle Brandy (a.k.a. Doobie) and brother Don Tipsword.
Gene’s life will be celebrated on Saturday, June 30th at 12:00pm at the Corvallis Masonic Lodge #14 which is located at: 306 SW Madison Avenue, Corvallis, Oregon 97333. Please plan to come early as the parking is limited to the street, and it may take some patience to find parking.
Gene’s immediate family, (Edie, Brian, Eric and Michelle) would love to have all family and friends gather to honor Gene’s remarkable and accomplished life through sharing love and stories. Refreshments will also be provided.