4 Firsts for Octogenarian
His first view of a temple, his first attendance at a general conference, his first airplane ride, and the first time he has been more than200 miles from his home; such is the record for venerable John H. Tipton, 85, who arrived in Salt lake City last week from Laager, Tennessee.
[At the age of 85 he still lived near his old home. Laager, Tennessee is just 16 miles from the chapel he built.]
Accompanying “Uncle John” as he is familiarly to the saints in the East Central States Mission, was Elder Ray Summers of Salt Lake City, now serving as a missionary in that area.
[When John first met the missionaries, probably in
A convert of the Church for more than 40 years, Elder Tipton has been a mainstay in Church activities in the East Central Mission for years and is called “The Man of Love” by literally hundreds of missionaries and Saints throughout that area.
Although a farmer by profession, Elder Tipton in 1909 single handedly built and gave to the Church a chapel in Northcuts Cove. It was used by the Altamont Branch for many years. He also served as President of this branch for four years.
[While Elder Tipton did indeed provide the land on which the chapel was built, and provided a considerable amount of the labor, he did not do it single handedly. He was part of a committee who worked to turn the dream into a reality. Although the historical record does say how much each person did, Henry Smartt and Albert Fults, were identified as having built the pews in the chapel. Also named were Bill Tanner, Reuben Smartt, and Beecher Smartt. And what is all the more amazing is that John Tipton did all this work before he was a member. His wife Belle had joined the church in 1905 and three of his daughter in 1908. But John did not get baptized until 27 Oct 1909, 3 days after the completion of the chapel - Dedicated 24 Oct 1909, by Charles A. Callis.]
Elder Tipton was married in 1885, and he and his wife had five daughters, three of whom are still living. Mrs. Tipton died in 1945.
[John married Mary “Belle” Nunley on 19 January 1885. Their other two daughters eventually joined the Church as well, in 1914 and 1921. John took the opportunity of his visit to Salt Lake City, to go to the temple and be sealed to his wife.]