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Russell Phipps, 102

by | Mar 2, 2024 | Obituaries

Russell Phipps

Russell Phipps

Russell A. Phipps of Hopkinton, a 102-year-old World War II veteran, passed away peacefully on Feb. 25 at The Residence of Valley Farm, a premium senior living facility in Ashland. He was surrounded by his two children and very close hospice workers.  He was husband to his beloved wife, Doris, for 71 years, and upon her passing in 2015 continued to enjoy life at their home of 75 years until they were reunited. He leaves behind a son, Russell and wife Joan (recently deceased), and a daughter, Marcia, and son-in-law, Fred, a granddaughter, Tracy, and a grandson, his wife and two great-granddaughters.

Born in Framingham on Dec. 28, 1921, the second of two boys, he was the son of Harry E. and Gertrude S. (Flood) Phipps. He was raised in Framingham and graduated from Framingham High School in 1942. He started working as an office boy for Dennison Manufacturing. Company until he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942.  Because of his “sharpshooter” qualification, he served stateside in Colorado as an instructor of firearms before being shipped to Florida, where he became involved in the armament of the B-29 aircraft. Eventually, he was shipped to Tinian in the Mariana Islands, where he served out his time in the armed forces having worked on the Enola Gay B-29 that was used to drop the atomic bomb, ending WWII in 1945.

He returned home in 1946 to reunite with his wife and infant son, Russell. After returning from military service, he lived for several months in a tent on a friend’s farm in Framingham, then spent three years living in the Musterfield Housing in Framingham. After adding a daughter, Marcia, the family moved to Woodville, on Lake Whitehall, where he built his home and spent 75 wonderful years of living. He worked over the years as an inventive engineer for Dennison Manufacturing Company, Bay State Abrasives, Sweetheart Plastics, Si-Cal and Woodplex. During the late 1950s-’60s, he ran his own sawmill and logged the Upton State Forest and other locations. He sold his lumber locally and to neighboring schools.

He was an outdoorsman since a child. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, archery, canoeing, mountain climbing, birding with his wife, raising his two children, playing the banjo and guitar — as a young man, he and his brother played trumpet for a radio station out of Boston — and traveling across America. He would not be bashful about telling folks not to get stuck in an office somewhere and realize too late that our country had so much to offer and that everyone should consider working less, save their money and make the journey across America and meet folks from every walk of life. He did just that with his two children one summer, and later on, with beagle in tow, he and Doris spent four months each year traveling and living on ranches in Texas, making lifelong friendships along the way. They bought property on Westport Island, Maine ,50 years ago and enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Island folks up until the end.

He was a member of the National Rifle Association since childhood and became a life benefactor member of the NRA. He felt that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is one of the most important constitutional rights afforded to American citizens and should be protected at all costs. He lived through wars where if countries like ours had had the benefits of such a constitutional right ,we might have not lost so many humans to war. Having lived through WWI and WWII, the depression and subsequent wars thereafter, he earned the right to be considered as part of the Greatest Generation.

In his final years, he was actively interviewed by TV, radio stations, Nashoba Valley Living, Access Framingham and Hopkinton Oral History Project, and he spent many wonderful hours enjoying being a part of the events held at the American Heritage Museum in Hudson (part of the Collings Foundation). He remained with sharpness of mind until he passed and enjoyed sharing stories of his life with family, friends and caregivers. He also celebrated his 100th and 101st birthday with “drive-by” parades from Hopkinton police, fire and DPW vehicles, with his 101st including a Sherman tank from the American Heritage Museum. He was a gentle giant of a man with a great sense of humor, willing to stop and chat and help anyone in need. Check him out on Youtube (Russell Phipps).

He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Not many folks can cram seven lifetimes into one. He managed to do it effortlessly and with grace and honor. He would always say to folks leaving, “You all come back now, and STAY FROSTY!”

A great and well-deserved thanks to all the support of Amedysis Hospice for all its dedication to Russell’s care.

Donations can be made in Russell’s honor to the American Heritage Military Museum in Hudson via americanheritagemuseum.org.

For tributes and photos, visit the website of the Pickering & Son Westborough Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements.

Obituaries are submissions, typically from funeral homes, that are not subject to the same level of editorial oversight as the rest of the Hopkinton Independent. Obituaries may be edited for grammatical and factual mistakes and clarifications and shortened for space considerations.

4 Comments

  1. MARY O

    HOPKINTON WILL MISS HIM

    Reply
    • The Phipps Family

      Yes he loved the town and was 75 years a resident. Seen a lot of changes in that time. He remembers the trolley and the factory up town. Also that there was a steam driven boat that used to take folks out on Whitehall.

      Reply
  2. Colin Harrahy

    I am a Boy Scout and was very fortunate to meet him at the Veterans Dinner this year. May Russel Phelps’s spirit live on and may all WW2 Veterans never be forgotten.

    Reply
  3. The Phipps Family

    Thanks Colin…. My dad held a special concern for your generation as you all will be in charge of this great country that he fought for along with so many others. He was a soldier to the end and we are blessed to have had him meet and make so many friends in his lifetime. Stay Frosty… he would say

    Reply

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