Bill Shipley kept the Farragut phones ringing

Mona B. SmithFarragut, Obits

Just three weeks after the passing of Anne McFee Shipley, her husband, Bill, has died.


Bill and Anne attended Farragut schools all the way from first grade and graduated together in the Class of 1946, Some of Bill’s siblings also attended Farragut. There were probably more, but the ones that I know are Mary (Class of 1935), John (Class of 1937), and Gladys (Class of 1941).

Bill leaves his sons, Edward (Class of 1976) and Bob (Class of 1978). The obituary also mentions his sister-in-law Helen Wilburn Shipley, spouse of Bill’s late brother, Ralph Shipley. Helen will be 100 years old this month.

Those who know me well know that to me all the world is a song. When I heard that Bill Shipley had passed away just three weeks after his beloved wife, Anne, I immediately began to hum the Harry Nilsson classic, “Can’t live, if living is without you.”

I will always remember Mr. Shipley and the kindness he always shown for me. Back around 1949-50, I was about 5 or 6, and Saturday night square dancing in the old Farragut gymnasium was a social event.

Mother was usually there and it seems that I was always dragged along and left sitting on the sidelines while the adults had a good time. But then, my knight in shining armor would come and ask me to dance!

Yes, Mr. Shipley as I then called him, would pick me up and dance with me all over the floor. I loved the attention he would give me and how he would swing me around! What fun!

Later in life, I would always ask him if he was ready for another dance and learned to call him Bill. So, we will all miss him and wish his family peace and comfort as they have lost the rest of the set, the other parent.

But our heart is warmed that they are together again, healthy and young. My final words to Bill are to please save me a do-si-do and a swing that corner lady for when I get there!

Obituary notes: William E. “Bill” Shipley, 92, of Concord, passed away Monday, July 6, 2020, peacefully at his home of 65 years. Bill was a very active member of Virtue Cumberland Presbyterian. He served on the board of deacons and the board of elders. Bill was also the church treasurer for over 40 years. He was a member of the West Knox Lions Club for many years.

Bill was retired from Concord Telephone Exchange after 42 years of making sure the community had telephone service. He was over all the field operations. You could see him climbing a pole on the side of the road or crawling under a house. He made sure the phones kept on ringing.

Friends may call at their convenience at the Click Funeral Home Chapel. Close friends and family will gather at Bill and Anne’s home on Thursday (7/9) from 7-9 p.m. Family and friends will gather at 10 a.m. on Friday at Virtue Cemetery for graveside services. Full obituary here.

Mona Isbell Smith is a retired computer systems analyst who enjoys freelancing. This information came from an email she sent to Farragut High alumni.

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