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Obituary: Beryl Shipley, SLI/USL Men's Basketball Coach and Military Veteran

Beryl Shipley

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Beryl Shipley

LAFAYETTE - Beryl Shipley, 84, peacefully slipped away after a fight with lung cancer late Friday evening, April 15, 2011, at his home in Lafayette, LA.

A memorial service of celebration will be held at noon on Good Friday, April 22, 2011, at First Baptist Church of Lafayette, LA. Visitation is from 9 am until the time of noon service. Pastor Steve Horn and Associate Pastor Luther Burney of First Baptist Church, Lafayette, will lead the celebratory service.

Music will be provided by Luther Burney and the Men's Quartet of First Baptist Church.

Pre-service gospel music will be played by Huey Miller and friends. Honorary pallbearers are "his boys," former players, and coaches.

Beryl was interred on Monday, Apr 18, at a private family graveside service at Lafayette Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Pallbearers included Beryl's grandsons and grandsons-in-law:

Staff Sergeant Jesse Cowand, Christopher and Matthew Cowand, Wade Watson, Rob Rubel, and Jonathan Joubert.

Beryl Clyde Shipley was the youngest of three sons born to Tom and Blanche Dykes Shipley in Kingsport, TN, on August 10, 1926. He attended Dobyns-Bennett High School where he lettered three years in basketball, two years in baseball, and one year in football. He "joined up" after Pearl Harbor, serving 2 years in the US Navy aboard the USS Zaniah. His annual Zaniah reunions meant much to him. After his Navy service, Beryl attended Hinds Junior College. There he met and married Dolores Gerrard of Yazoo City, MS. They moved on to Delta State College on his basketball scholarship and the GI Bill, graduating in 1951. Beryl earned a Masters degree from Mississippi State while coaching at Starkville High from 1952-57. He brought his young family to Lafayette in 1957 as the head basketball coach at SLI, arriving just before Hurricane Audrey. He coached at SLI/USL for seventeen years. He loved and was embraced by the people of South Louisiana, his adopted home. Beryl eventually went to work in the oil patch for Fluid Dynamics and Drilling Measurements Incorporated, retiring in 1992. An AVID sports fan, he daily followed his favorite teams, players and coaches.

Beryl LOVED people--his friendships and family were sacred to him. Everyone enjoyed his quick wit and sense of humor. He insisted his loved ones know the value of a smile, and of making and maintaining friendships. He kept up with friends and former teachers from his childhood days in Kingsport to his golf, business, and sports buddies in Lafayette and around the U.S. He was cheered throughout his illness with the visits of countless friends and loved ones.

He is survived by his biggest cheerleader and devoted wife of over 61 years, Dolores Gerrard Shipley; three daughters, Marilyn Shipley Watson and husband, Bill; and Patty Shipley, all of Lafayette, and Amy Shipley Cowand and husband, Scott, of The Woodlands, TX; nine grandchildren, Cheramie Joubert, Abbey Rubel, Wade Watson, Jennifer Amorello, Leah Lavern, Staff Sergeant Jesse Cowand USAF, Christopher Cowand, Matthew Cowand, Elizabeth Cowand; great-grandchildren, Madeleine Rubel, and Chloe Watson. His brother, Thomas E. Shipley, Jr. of Birmingham, MI; nephew, T. Doane Shipley of Sewickley, PA; nieces, Ardin Shipley Moenart of Troy MI, and Jackie Shipley of Johnson City, TN ; and sister-in-law Mabel Shipley of Kingsport, TN.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Jack Shipley of Kingsport, TN. and sister-in-law Virginia Doane Shipley of Birmingham, MI.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to the Beryl Shipley Mended Hearts Scholarships,which were established after the 2001 Shipley Reunion. Since Beryl and many family members were affected by heart disease, he wanted to help the families of students who have struggled physically and financially due to heart problems. Since 2002, fifteen awards have been provided to students in need. Checks can be made payable to: Shipley Mended Hearts Scholarships and mailed to: UL Development Office, PO Box 43410, Lafayette, LA 70504. Contributions can be made online at www.ullfoundation.org (click Donate, UL Lafayette Endowments). Donors may also use a credit card by calling the UL Lafayette Foundation at (337) 482-0700.

The family would like to thank Hospice of Acadiana, especially Nurse Jenny, for help at the end of Beryl's illness. We are so grateful for recent caregivers Lance Thomas and Cassandra Alexander, who provided such faithful and skilled care. Also appreciated are the doctors who helped him to live such a long life, especially Dr. Mike Mounir.

Condolences may be sent to the Shipley family via www.delhommefuneralhome.com.

Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, LA, is in charge of funeral arrangements.

logoAthletic Network Footnote: Please click here for Coach Shipley's Athletic Network Profile.

Please click here for Shipley Footnotes from the 2011 Men's Basketball Reunion.

Published in the The Advertiser from April 21 to April 22, 2011

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