Chapel Hill names its Citizen of the Year

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

From staff reports

CHAPEL HILL - The town's Park and Recreation Committee has unanimously decided to name Tim Tipps of Primrose Place as Citizen of the Year for this north Marshall County town.

A surprise awards ceremony was held for Tipps on Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the Chapel Hill Community Center on West Depot Street, according to Craig Blackwell, chairman of the parks and recreation committee.

Beth Warner, Lori Gipson, Crystal Harrison, and John Helmick were on the nominating committee, Blackwell said. The committee receives nominations that are submitted at Town Hall

Tipps is the man who keeps the Big G trucks rolling from company headquarters north of Shelbyville and west of Bell Buckle. As vice president of maintenance for the trucking company, Tipps is well aware of what's needed for a strong internal combustion engine.

But as a member of the Chapel Hill Lions Club's Pull Committee, the professional truck businessman is passionate about the Lions Club's Super Pull of the South, including tractors with 15,000 horse power engines and performance recognized as among the best in the United States.

The tractors competing during the annual event during July at Chapel Hill are "the best of the best," Tipps continued about the Super Pull. "The equipment is so much better" than many of the other tractors entered in tractor pull events.

As a pull committeeman, Tipps was to have gone to Ohio for a tractor pull banquet, he said, explaining, "Since ours is only one of the super pulls, we feel like it's important for us to be there."

But he couldn't be in two places at the same time, so there were stories told about why he really had to be at the Community Center on Tuesday last week.

"I know when people are lying to me and... I'm pretty much a scheduled kind of guy so when I see things that are not scheduled or making common sense..." he said about the Tuesday evening.

Craig Blackwell, chairman of the park and recreation committee, knew the Tipps family had some difficulty.

"Finally his wife just told him, 'Get in the vehicle,'" Blackwell said.

Tipps acknowledged the ruse didn't work.

"I wasn't surprised," said Tipps, 52. "I was touched."

About 40 people attended what Blackwell had planned as a surprise party.

"They're probably the same people who will be at my funeral," Tipps said in a telephone interview Monday when he sought no personal glory. "I just want my grandchildren to have a better place to live."

Tipps and his family decided to move to Chapel Hill from Nashville in 1985 because he "was looking for land between Nashville and Fayetteville," he said

Tipps was born in Fayetteville on June 3, 1959 to Carl and Ruby Tipps who had three boys, Tim, Tony and Mike. Tim graduated from Lincoln County High School in 1977. He played trumpet while in high school and was in the Lincoln County band. After high school, he graduated from Nashville Auto Diesel.

As for the move to Chapel Hill, he said, "We wanted somewhere we could drive down and come back and not stay for the weekend."

He married his high school sweetheart, Mary Jo, in 1978. They moved to Nashville where he was working for Avco. Tim and Mary Jo had three children, Ellie Williams and Vickie Hazel of Chapel Hill, and T.J. Tipps of Nashville. Tim and Mary Jo have three grandchildren, Sam, Luke and Julie Williams, with one on the way, Easton Hazel.

Tipps has been very active as a coach for both his daughters' softball teams, and his son's baseball and football teams. He's coached grandchildren and continued to coach when his children weren't playing.

When introducing Tipps as Chapel Hill's Citizen of the Year, Blackwell said, "Tim was able to get involved in building the girls high school softball field alongside of some of his best friends. With the help of Bill Beasley, Kevin Knight, Jerry Hooper, Mike Zimmerle and others, they created one of the most beautiful softball fields in Tennessee... If Tim is not at home, work, or a game, you will find him at the ball field mowing, watering or working on a field."