COVID memorials: Month before planned retirement trip, COVID-19 takes Englewood husband

Gary Tipton was just settling into retirement when he and his wife Julia purchased a camper and the Englewood couple made plans to spend the first months of this year away in the warmth of Florida. Hmarried for 48 years both came down with COVID-19. Gary would not recover and died at the age of 68. SUBMITTED
Gary Tipton was just settling into retirement when he and his wife Julia purchased a camper and the Englewood couple made plans to spend the first months of this year away in the warmth of Florida. Hmarried for 48 years both came down with COVID-19. Gary would not recover and died at the age of 68. SUBMITTED

Credit: SUBMITTED

Credit: SUBMITTED

Gary Tipton was just settling into retirement when he and his wife Julia purchased a camper and the Englewood couple made plans to spend the first few months of this year in the warmth of Florida.

But in December, the high school sweethearts married for 48 years both came down with COVID-19. Gary would not recover and died at the age of 68.

“He was just the greatest guy around and would drop what he was doing to help someone else,” said his wife Julia. “He just loved to be around his close friends, his kids, his grandkids and he loved working in the garage in his workshop.”

Today and throughout the week, the Dayton Daily News remembers people from the region we lost and gives voice to those who loved them.

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As youngsters, the two lived just eight doors apart on Beechwood Avenue in Dayton and attended E.J. Brown School together. As they got older, their courtship progressed to the corner of North Main Street and Parkwood Drive at a popular hangout in front of a laundromat and Tom’s Pizza.

“We just had fun. We weren’t getting into any trouble. We were just there talking and goofing around,” Julia said.

Not long after graduating from Colonel White High School — Gary in 1970 and Julia in 1971 — the two would marry. They first rented an apartment in Dayton where Gary put up a volleyball net and welcomed their friends. They moved to West Milton for a decade before putting down permanent roots in Englewood.

A tool and die maker by trade, Gary retired in 2018 from Stanley Electric.

Gary was an avid football fan, especially of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Cincinnati Bengals. He also found refuge in his workshop building sliding barn doors, now a popular home interior feature.

Julia also fell ill at the same time and recovered. She doesn’t know where they picked up the virus. If they went anywhere, they wore masks and when they went to the grocery, Gary would stay in the car because of previous heart surgeries, first in 1977 and another in 2001.

“He almost died both times. And I thought if he could make it through that, he could make it through this,” Julia said.

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Having never lived alone, Julia said she’s finding it hard to do but is receiving constant encouraging words from a cousin who lost her husband.

Gary loved to listen to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, BB King and Buddy Guy, Julia said.

He also enjoyed singing one song in particular, The Rodeo Song, to sometimes irk but more often tickle his wife.

“I don’t think you would want to put it in the paper. Lots of bad words,” Julia said. “(But) I’m sitting here smiling thinking about him singing it.”