Colonel Bill G. Rippy, age 89, of Tifton and formerly of La Porte, Indiana, went home to be with his Lord on Jan. 30, 2020, at his residence. His funeral services will be held at Victory Baptist Church at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, with Rev. Dan Eidson, Rev. Gerald Purvis and Rev. Jay Kimbro officiating. Family will receive friends Saturday, Feb. 1, at Albritton Funeral Directors from 5-7 p.m.
The interment will be held in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, with full military honors at a later date.
His grandsons, Billy Rippy III, Brock Alexander, Richard Rippy, Michael Rippy, Matthew Rippy and Garrett Rippy, will serve as pallbearers.
Colonel Rippy was born on Oct. 2, 1930, in Bethpage, Tennessee, to the late Basil Rippy and Earlene Cline Stone. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Robert Rippy. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Shirley Ann Wheeler Rippy of Tifton; and his sister, Sue Mitchell of Plymouth, Indiana. Also surviving are his daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Alan Alexander of Blairsville, Georgia; and two sons and daughters-in-law, Bill, Jr. and Barbara Rippy of Ft. Myers, Florida, and Bob and Natalie Rippy of Tifton, Georgia; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Colonel Rippy graduated from La Porte High School in 1948, where he played football and was inducted into the La Porte High School Football Hall of Fame in 1988. He continued his education at Wabash College where he played football for three years before enlisting in the Air Force. He went on to have a career as an Air Force fighter pilot. Colonel Rippy was a veteran of the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War. During his military career, he flew multiple fighter aircrafts, including 267 combat missions in Vietnam. He was the first pilot to land a F-84F deadstick successfully; in fact, he did it twice and was awarded Pilot of the Month for the entire Air Force for his accomplishment. He was also one of the test pilots for the F-101 Voodoo and was the first pilot to break the sound barrier on the deck in that particular aircraft.
Colonel Rippy loved the Lord and he and his wife were very active in their church Victory Baptist and formerly Northside Baptist. He served as Deacon for Victory Baptist Church and previously Northside Baptist Church in Tifton. He was involved in Vacation Bible School and very active in visitation.
He transitioned from a leader to a servant in 1992, when he became a hospice volunteer with Hospice of Tift Area. He served in that capacity for 25 years. In addition to Hospice, he began visiting people he knew that were in the nursing homes and those visits became part of his weekly schedule. For some, he was the only visitor they received each week and they looked so forward to the time together.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice of Tift Area, 618 Central Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794 or to Gideons International, through Victory Baptist Church, 3917 Hwy. 319 South, Tifton, GA 31793.
Albritton Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements. You may sign the online guest register at www.albrittonfuneral.com.