Category: Famous People Who Met My Grandfather


Col. C. J. Tippett and Sheriff Eugene W. Biscailuz

Sheriff Eugene W. Biscailuz was a Los Angeles legend, and the grandson of a gunslinging lawman. He was part of my grandfather’s pre-LinkedIn network that got him the job!

In the continuing series of famous people who met my grandfather… there’s a colorful story of a real life gunslinger in 1930’s Los Angeles, whom Tip encountered while trying to find a job as a young aviator.

Tip was job searching, and he had help from family. It was networking, old school:

Tip’s wife’s father, Harry Hossack, had a brother who worked in the Los Angeles, California, sheriff’s department. Harry’s brother had married a lady officer who reported directly to the Sheriff. The Sheriff knew every businessman in Los Angeles, particularly Mr. H. H. Wetzel, who was the Vice President of Douglas Aircraft. Douglas Aircraft was exactly the kind of company that Tip wanted to work for. So a connection was made for a woman’s brother-in-law’s son-in-law.

Sheriff Eugene Warren Bicailuz wrote a letter of introduction for Tip on June 9th, 1936, and Tip got the job. He was a junior project engineer at the Douglas aircraft factory, as the fantastically popular DC-3 was rolled out and away.

Tip’s account of the job is delightful, and the letters in his archive from Sheriff Bicailuz are treasures. Tip included his experiences on the factory floor in his memoir, which is almost ready for publication.

Biscailuz is mainly known to history for his creation of the California Highway Pattrol, the best of its kind then and now. He joined the LA County Sheriff department as a clerk, after graduating college with a law degree, and moved up. He was proudly Hispanic, descended from Spanish Basque settlers with roots deep in the pre-American culture of Los Angeles. Biscailuz’s grandfather was one of LA’s first lawman and died in a shoot out on the muddy streets in the 1800s.

Sheriff Biscailuz, in his own time, faced down a hail of bullets and braved a live bomb to talk down a labor dispute.

There’s a story there… of Sheriff Biscailuz and his father, and his grandfather. Grandfather stories are my specialty… perhaps one day.

If you are interested in being on the book announcement list, please email me. It’s a richly detailed journey through an amazing period of history.

 

Col. C. J. Tippett met Dr. George Washington Carver in 1941

Col. C. J. Tippett shook hands with Dr. George Washington Carver before going on to certify one of the first classes of students who would become the Tuskegee Airmen. Thanks to Wikipedia for this public domain image of Dr. Carver.

Col. C. J. Tippett followed his love for flying through some of the most pivotal events of world history. While he never intended to set records and shake hands with famous people, he did it anyway.

In 1941, Tip was an instructor and inspector for the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) and had his hands full certifying all the students involved in the Civil Pilot Training Program (CPTP). He got a call from his superiors asking him to fly to a university in Alabama to certify a class who were ready to fly.

But that part of Alabama wasn’t Tip’s territory. He asked Bill Robertson, his CAA boss, why the local instructors couldn’t handle the call…. and the rest of the story is history, told in my book – which is in final draft form….

Tip was met at the airport by …”an elderly gentleman with two black men accompanying him…” It was Dr. George Washington Carver, and Tip not only shook his hand, he sat down with him and figured out how to go about the historic process of testing and certifying a class of students who would become some of the first Tuskegee Airmen.

Dr. Carver was accompanied by Dr. George Washington and Dr. Jones. The three men had worked hard to bring the opportunities inherent in the CPTP to Tuskegee University.

Dr. George Washington Carver had devoted his career to agricultural programs intended to help free black men be successful as farmers. He made great progress with peanuts, and was active in Alabama’s black leadership. He would live long enough to see his Tuskegee students successfully join the US Armed Forces, but not long enough to see the end of segregation in America.

Tip treasured the memory of shaking hands with Dr. Carver in 1941 and his description is full of details.

The book, and associated magazine articles are coming out soon… join the mailing list for notifications, and be assured that I never, ever, use that mailing list for any emails other than my own.

 

 

 

 

Ann Sothern met Col. C. J. Tippett in 1931

Ann Sothern met my grandfather, Cloyce Joseph Tippett, in 1931 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This picture is from the movie “Cry Havoc” released in 1943. She was blond when my grandfather met her.

In the continuing series about Famous People Who Met My Grandfather, I’d like to introduce Ann Sothern.

Ann was a stand-out beauty in 1931 when Tip brought her a room service tray at the Fort Wayne Hotel, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tip reported that she was reading a script when she opened the door, dressed in a dressing gown, and that she was performing at the Fort Wayne Theater. Tip and his roommate, Bob, saw the play twice.

Ann Sothern was 22 years old, and Tip was 18. He was working at the Fort Wayne Hotel to support his studies at the Midwestern Aeronautical College, and he didn’t usually deliver room service trays. The hotel was shorthanded that night, and so Tip pitched in and scored this cherished celebrity sighting.

Tip did not fall in love with Ann Sothern, nor did he graduate from Midwestern. He was flying his Curtiss Jenny JN4 in open fields, recovering from boxing matches, and trying to find his way to aviation in the depths of the Great Depression. In a couple more years, he would join the Army. But on that one night in 1931, he brought Ann Sothern a room service tray.

This excellent personal service from my grandfather did not, to my knowledge, feature prominently in Ann Sothern’s life. She had started acting at age 18, and was destined for movies and television, but had started out in theater. She was already appearing on Broadway at the time Tip knocked on her door, but one of her Broadway producers had business ties in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and so the show went on there.

Looking at Ann Sothern’s career in comparison to modern celebrity standards, I can see that she was a hard-working professional. She had no reputation for extravagant living, serial marriages, or extraordinary behavior. She married at a reasonable time in her life and had one daughter. She went from theater to film, and kept working in an amazing number of films until she had a break-out success with the “Masie” films, and then a TV series in her own name.

Many of the famous people who met my grandfather were far more involved in his life than Ann Sothern was. She increased his pocket money by tipping generously for the room service tray, but other than that, she was just a fun story for cocktail hour. I include her in my series because she represents, to me, a person who achieved her goal in a methodical, professional, patient, hard-working, and diligent way. I am surrounded by stories of people who make it to the top of their profession by lightning strikes of luck or coincidence, but what I need instead are stories of people who got there the hard way, by working for it.

Ann Sothern, who was born Harriet Arlene Lake, died of natural causes in Ketchum, Idaho in 2001 at age 92. Ernest Hemingway, who also met my grandfather, also died in Ketchum, Idaho. This seems like a highly suspicious coincidence to me, (well, not really, but as I’ve said before… I don’t get out much.)  What is going on in Ketchum, Idaho?  If I was a famous person, I’d probably take up residence somewhere else. Like, Malibu or the Bahamas. Or Corfu.

 

 

Ernest Hemingway coached C. J. Tippett in 1931

Ernest Hemingway coached Cloyce Tippett in Golden Gloves Boxing in 1931. Yale University has an archive of letters from Hemingway to Ezra Pound and posted this picture at their Beinecke Library website.

In my continuing series about famous people who met my grandfather in the course of his aviation pioneering adventures, I am happy to introduce…

Ernest Hemingway!

Actually, Cloyce Tippett would meet Ernest Hemingway twice, and this story is about the first time.

Cloyce Joseph Tippett, known to everyone as Tip, had won a series of Golden Gloves boxing matches held at the YMCA in Port Clinton, Ohio, in 1931. He qualified for the state finals in Chicago and traveled there on a motorcycle with a sidecar, and his friend, Bob.

Ernest Hemingway was in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife, Pauline, waiting for the birth of his son, Gregory. He decided to go over to the boxing match and coach the out-of-town boxers at the finals match in Chicago.

Tip found Hemingway in his corner, seconding the match. Hemingway coached Tip with all of his extensive boxing expertise. Initally, Tip won his matches and was ready to compete for the Golden Gloves Welterweight Championship. Hemingway observed Tip’s opponent and strongly advised Tip to stay out of his way. But Tip was convinced he could win, and he let fly with a right-hand punch that failed to impress anyone, much less his opponent.

When Tip regained consciousness, he went several rounds with a furious Ernest Hemingway, who lectured him for ten minutes about disregarding coaching instructions.

When Tip met Ernest Hemingway again, much later in life, they both remembered their encounter at the Golden Gloves match in Chicago… and how did that second meeting go?  Check back to find out, or sign up to be notified when the book about Tip’s adventures in life, black marlin fishing, and aviation comes out!

 

Bugs Moran met Cloyce Joseph Tippett

This photo is from Christine Nyholm’s article on suite101.com

Welcome to my series about the many famous people who met my grandfather, Colonel Cloyce Joseph Tippett, as he pursued his passion for aviation, big game sport fishing, and international diplomacy.

Introducing:

Bugs Moran

George Clarence Moran met my grandfather, Tip, in the winter of 1930, when George was thirty-nine years old and Tip was sixteen. Tip was a short-order cook working the night shift in his step-father’s restaurant in Port Clinton, Ohio. Bugs Moran was a Chicago gangster, ordering up steak and coffee on a freezing night while leading a midnight bootlegging convey away from the shores of Lake Erie.

Bugs Moran’s gang had recently been gunned down by Al Capone in the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, but Moran had found twelve more men to help him that night, and Tip fed them all.  In Tip’s memoir, which is included in my book, Tip noted that the men’s appetites were insatiable. He cooked and served twenty steak dinners. And noticed the shoulder-holstered .45 automatics some of the men were wearing.

Tip came through just fine. Turns out Bugs Moran was a good tipper.

Tip went on to become the director of the South American office of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Bugs Moran went on to spread mayhem and eventually die of lung cancer, which seems somewhat ironic considering his line of work.

More cool stories are in my soon-to-be-released book about my grandfather, Colonel Cloyce Joseph Tippett. Contact me if you’d like to be put on the book release list! And check back soon for the next Famous Person Who Met My Grandfather.

 

 

 

 

Col. C. J. Tippett at the White House for Dinner

The Col. and Mrs Tippett were invited to the 1988 White House Dinner for Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt

For the longest time, I could link myself to any major world leader in 3 of the Six Degrees of Separation. My grandfather, Col. C. J. Tippett was 1. And he knew Hosni Mubarak, which was 2. And Hosni Mubarak shook hands (or refused to shake hands) with almost every modern or recent world leader, so that’s 3!

Here’s how:

Hosni Mubarak was a pilot before he was the President of Egypt.

He served in the Egyptian Air Force and trained in the Soviet Union. In the early 1970s, he began to serve in the Egyptian government. In 1981, Hosni Mubarak became the President of Egypt when the other President of Egypt was shot to death as he sat next to Mubarak onstage.

My grandfather, Col. C. J. Tippett served in the Army Air Corps and trained in the Civil Aviation Administration. In the early 1970s, he left his civil aviation work, and retired from his work as a USAF Intelligence Officer and began to work to “open channels of communication and levels of understanding…” among Air Attaches of foreign governments. The Colonel and Mrs Tippett did this by hosting some of the most sought after parties in diplomatic circles of their day.

They invited Mr. Hosni Mubarak due to his aviation background and he came. And they partied. And in 1988, when President Ronald Regan invited President Hosni Mubarak to the White House for dinner, the Colonel and Mrs Tippett were on the guest list. So they partied some more, over Tenderloin of Veal Wellington and Port Salut cheese.

I don’t know anything about Hosni Mubarak’s politics or conduct as the longest standing President of Egypt. I don’t know anything about the US Government’s interest and support or non-support of the Mubarak regime, or the consequences of the recent political changes in Egypt.

I do know that my grandfather considered Hosni Mubarak a friend, and enjoyed his company those times they were able to spend time together, back in the 70s and 80s.

With all these world changes, and the fall of Mubarak, I feel I am losing my ability to touch our world leadership in 3 steps. I’m either going to have to become more active in community, state, or federal politics – or switch over to playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Either way, time is eroding my ability to get there in less than 4. Probably my time would be better spent investigating the good things Kevin Bacon has done with his degrees.

My story about Col. C. J. Tippett is almost ready for publication… let me know if you want to be on the release announcement list!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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