James HowellStaff Writerjhowell@heartlandpublications.com
November 5, 2012
Michael Allen Phipps passed from this life on Oct. 30, 2012, to be forever free from the brain tumor that he so courageously fought for two years. He was 52.
He was born in Jefferson to David Lester Phipps Sr. and Ruth Anne Miller Phipps.
After graduating from Ashe Central High School in 1978, Mike attended North Carolina State University and earned his degree in Industrial Engineering. He began his career in 1983, as an engineer with the U.S. Army at Ft. Bragg, later transferring to the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama.
In 1986, he began a 24 year career with NASA in Huntsville, Ala., where he worked proudly in support of the Space Shuttle Program and later on ARES-I. During his years there, Mike achieved his Professional Engineer certification and was awarded the cherished Silver Snoopy Award given by the astronauts. In 2010, he decided to change career paths and went to work for the Missile Defense Agency.
Mike’s greatest delight was his family. He was married for 21 years to the former Teri Michelle Loyd who he met at N.C. State. They had two children, Zachary Allen and Andrew Gray. Sadly, Andrew died at the age of three from a congenital birth defect which left Mike’s heart forever broken.
Zachary was his greatest joy. Mike served as a volunteer coach for numerous basketball and baseball teams even winning two county championships as head coach of Zachary’s middle school baseball team. He was proud of the wonderful young man that Zachary had become and rejoiced when Zachary was recently admitted to the nursing program at Auburn University. Mike’s pride as a father was always evident.
Mike was also an active member of Trinity Baptist Church in Madison. He worked many years with the youth group and served as a Deacon. It was his hope that he could somehow make a difference for the youth.
He was preceded in death by his son, Andrew Gray Phipps; his father, David L. Phipps Sr.; his father-in-law, Donald G. Loyd; and his younger brother, Mark.
Mike is survived by his mother, Ruth Anne Phipps of Crumpler; three brothers, David L. Phipps Sr. (Sarah Ruth) of Holly Springs, Joseph W. Phipps (Kate) of Jefferson, and Larry Phipps of Jefferson; mother-in-law, Edna G. Loyd of Gibsonville; sister-in-law, Tina L. Wiggins (Rick) of Gibsonville; and many nieces, nephews, as well as a large extended family.
A heart-felt thanks to Dr. Brian Mathews, Dr. Hoyt Childs, Claudia Agnew, and the many caring individuals at Clearview Cancer Institute. Thanks to all the management and coworkers at Missile Defense Agency for supporting Mike through his illness and the Army Aviation Safety Office for their support of Teri. To Navar Johnson, thank you for being the angel caretaker for Mike.
The funeral service was held at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at Trinity Baptist Church, 1088 Hughes Road in Madison. Burial followed at Huntsville Memory Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial scholarship fund has been initiated at Redstone Federal Credit Union to fund a scholarship for a deserving student to further their education. Donations may be made to the Mike Phipps Memorial Scholarship, Redstone Federal Credit Union, 220 Wynn Drive, Huntsville, AL 35893 and note for the Mike Phipps Memorial Scholarship Fund, Account 51005512653.