Dorr Eugene Felt Tippens, 80, chemical engineer, military aviator

October 21, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Dorr Eugene Felt Tippens, a chemical engineer and decorated World War II aviator who devised the formula for a type of brown sugar, died of leukemia Saturday at Roland Park Place. He was 80 and had lived for many years on Gibson Island.

Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., Mr. Tippens was named for his grandfather, Dorr Eugene Felt, inventor of the Comptometer, an early business calculator. He earned a chemical engineering degree from Purdue University, but interrupted his studies to enlist in the Army Air Forces.

Mr. Tippens completed 65 missions over Europe in a B-26 Martin Marauder. An air navigator, he was awarded a Purple Heart after being hit by enemy flak. He also received 13 Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mr. Tippens moved to Baltimore in 1950 and spent 33 years with Domino Sugar Co. as a chemical engineer in research and development.

While working with Domino, Mr. Tippens devised a formula for granulated brown sugar, which was packaged as "Brownulated" sugar and introduced about 35 years ago. His employer, American Sugar Refining Co., obtained a patent for his work.

After retiring in 1982, he became an investment adviser and published print and online monthly newsletters on no-load mutual funds. Mr. Tippens was a ragtime piano enthusiast and singer, pianist and accordion player. He was also an amateur photographer and made hundreds of bottles of red wine at his Gibson Island home from grapes he bought from growers. He also kept aquariums, and enjoyed sailing, wildlife and travel. After his 70th birthday, he started riding a BMW motorcycle around Gibson Island.

"He taught everybody how to savor life to its fullest," said his son, Dorr Felt Tippens of Seattle. "He was the consummate engineer - he ... developed and enlarged his own pictures, and calculated the carbon dioxide produced in the wine he made."

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 31 on Gibson Island, at St. Christopher by the Sea Chapel.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 61 years, the former Doris Roberta Willsey; two daughters, Rebecca Anne Tippens of Colrain, Mass., and Constance Felt Tippens of South Hamilton, Mass.; three brothers; William Clark Tippens of Chicago, Albert Harris Tippens of Kenilworth, Ill., and Martin Clark Tippens of Glendale, Calif.; two sisters; Constance Tippens Jordan of Willamette, Ill., and Anne Tippens Buck of Olympia, Wash.; and five grandchildren.

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