Mourners meet on 9th hole
Between 100 to 150 people filed around the ninth hole Thursday at Marion Country Club, not to observe a golfer attempting to chip in a ball, but to celebrate the life of a left-handed golfer who was infamous for banking shots off a small mound that most others struggled with.
David Wayne Shiplet, 57, owner and operator of Ship Shape Roofing, died unexpectedly at his home June 17. Shipman would golf nine holes weekdays, and 18 on weekends.
“Feel free to laugh together, and feel free to cry together,” said Roger Hiebert as he opened Thursday’s service.
Hiebert went on to celebrate Shiplet’s sobriety for the last four years of his life and emphasized his work ethic.
“If it was three degrees — cold, windy, whatever — it didn’t matter,” he said. “He’d go out and get the job done.”
Shiplet often employed workers that needed a second chance.
“He was a protector of the underdog,” his little sister, Lisa Anderson, said. “He got in trouble a lot when he was younger. He would get help from guys just getting out of jail. He wanted to give those guys a chance for work.
“He was a very proud man. He wasn’t going to tell anyone if he was broke or hurt. He loved his business but it was always his family first.”
One of Shiplet’s brothers-in-law, Rafael Noriega, fondly recollects how warmly Shiplet accepted him as part of the family.
“The first time I met him, he called me ‘brother-in-law,’ and it was always just ‘brother’ after that,” Noriega said. “If you know anything about my family, you know that blood means absolutely nothing.”
According to those who knew Shiplet, his faith was a top priority for him, and he had a catch phrase that many recited during the celebration of his life.
When fellow Good News Christian Fellowship congregation members, family members, or even strangers on the street would say, ‘God is good,’ it could be counted on for Shiplet to finish the phrase with a smile stretching across his face.
“All the time,” he’d say.