Obituary and Condolences

Richard D. Phipps
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Obituary for Richard D. Phipps

Richard D. (Dick) Phipps, 95, passed away from natural causes at the Solon Care Center on Sunday, December 3.

Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11:00 am on Tuesday, December 12th at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Iowa City. Reverend Gary Beckman will officiate.
Visitation will be held the same day, at the church, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Burial, with full military rites, will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Iowa City. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Wenceslaus Church, Solon Nursing Care Center or Iowa City Hospice. Lensing Funeral Service is handling arrangements.

Dick was born at home in Iowa City on March 7, 1922, the son of Jonathan F. and Lola (Pittman). Phipps. He was educated in the Iowa City schools and graduated from City High in 1940, the first graduating class from what was called then "the new high school". Being accomplished in poetry and music Dick was given the task of helping to come up with an alma mater and fight song which he did by going through catalogs of college songs in the University of Iowa collection. Since there were no recordings of the music he would play each piece on the saxophone and clarinet until he found the right ones. Those songs endure today as City High's official songs. While still in high school he was recruited to become a Bag Piper as an original member of the University of Iowa Scottish Highlanders. He traveled with the Highlanders to the New York World's Fair in 1939 and later attended UI and played in dance bands at various ballrooms around eastern Iowa as well as the famous Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

Dick married his high school sweetheart, Elva “Babe” Wilson on June 13, 1943 in Iowa City
and she continued to be the love of his life for 73 years.

At the outbreak of World War II Dick enlisted in the Navy. After completing initial training at UI as one of the Flying Hawkeyes, he continued training in St. Louis and at US Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. As a fighter pilot Dick was stationed aboard the Bunker Hill and the Intrepid in the South Pacific theater. Following the war, he became a pilot for United Airlines and later for Collins Radio Co. in Cedar Rapids and was subsequently moved to Dallas, TX with the Collins flight department.

Dick began building homes in the Dallas, TX area in the early 60's and returned to Iowa City in 1970 where he continued building and developing real estate until he retired in 1995.

Dick was a past member of the Iowa City Homebuilders Association, the Iowa City Area Association of Realtors. Dick served on and chaired the Iowa City Airport Commission for several years and was a member of the Quiet Birdmen – Cedar Rapids Hangar. In 2014 he was honored to be inducted into the City High Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Elva (Babe) Phipps; his sons, Rob Phipps (Jean) of Iowa City, John Phipps (Sue) of Iowa City, Mike Phipps (Mary Lou) of Lake San Marcos, CA, Joe Phipps of Texarkana, AR and his daughter, Julie Redifer (Bren) of Hot Springs, AR; numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Dick was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Irene Herring, brother-in-law John Herring, his brother Bill Phipps, sister-in-law Margarite Phipps and daughter-in-law Diana Phipps.

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Previous Events





9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church

623 Fairchild Street
Iowa City, IA 52245





11:00 AM
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church

623 Fairchild Street
Iowa City, IA 52245

Cemetery Details


St. Joseph's Cemetery

1122 N. Dodge Street
Iowa City, Iowa 52245


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