Baker City, Oregon
Emma Shipman, 87, wife, mother, grandmother, homemaker, partner and friend, died July 25, 2003, after an extended stay at St. Elizabeth Care Center, attended lovingly by wonderful caregivers.
Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Baker City Christian Church, 2998 Eighth St. Mr. Jack Pittman and Pastor Roger Scovil will officiate.
Mrs. Shipman was born at Sunset, Washington County, Ark., the eighth child of David Franklin Alexander and Rosa Elizabeth Simpson Alexander on Feb. 6, 1916 (according to her birth certificate). Her mother died when she was 4 years old and she was adopted by Fritz and Ethyl Woods Klein. They celebrated her birth date as February 13, 1916.
She lived at Henryetta, Okla., and on a reservation in New Mexico before settling at Oak Creek, Colo., where her foster father worked in a mine. They took in a boarder, Frank Lester King, also a miner.
He and Emma were married and had one daughter, Alice Adeline, born in 1937. These were depression years and her husband had to leave Colorado to find work. He eventually joined the Army and was killed in Anzio and is buried at Nettuno, Italy.
She later met La Verne Gilbert Shipman. They were married at Sedalia, Colo., on June 2, 1940. Emma’s husband and another man had a job in the mines in the Philippines. They were to get their shots to ship over when Emma found out she was pregnant with her son, Leland Gilbert.
The Shipmans’ friends went ahead to the Phillipines and ultimately spent 3 years in a Japanese prison camp, broken in body but not is spirit. Only the Grace of God and Leland spared Emma and Verne this ordeal.
The couple next had a daughter Barbara Elizabeth, born on Christmas day 1943. She was a frail child and died of meningitis at Doernbecher Hospital at the age of 18 months.
Emma’s second son, Keith Vernon Shipman, suffered kidney failure at the age of 27. Emma gave him dialysis at home for two years until a compatible kidney was found. The transplant was successful, but Keith died at the age of 33 from serum hepatitis from transfusions.
Emma’s daughter, Vena Gay Shipman, born on Jan. 19, 1949. She was a talented musician with a beautiful singing voice. She lost her life early after a long illness.
Through all this Emma never lost her faith in God, who was her strength. She was a faithful member of the First Christian Church and an active member of the Friendly Circle and Mary/Martha group. She worked with the Rainbow Girls and DeMolay boys and was a tireless Girl Scout leader.
She supported her husband in every aspect of their life. Her greatest joy, after 64 years, was having her birth family find her and arrange a reunion. They traveled to Arkansas and met 200 relatives. She had a few good years corresponding and visiting with her family.
Survivors include one sister, Martha Jane Mc Daniels of Paragold, Ark.; a brother-in-law, Charles “Bink” Lewis, and his wife Glenabell; daughter, Alice, and her husband, Vernon Guy Knapp Sr. of Baker City; a son, Leland Shipman of Aurora, Colo.; grandchildren, Lorna Moncrief of Boise, LuAnn Jensen of Washington, Lesley Kay Waggerby of Baker City, J. Leonard Waggerby and his wife, Debra, of Aurora, Allison Lee Eschweiler and her husband, Lee, of Denver, Colo., Emily Patricia Bonner and her husband, Russell, of Aurora, Colo., and Vernon Guy Knapp Jr. of Fort Hood, Texas; stepgrandchildren, Mike Knapp and his wife, Judi, Debbie Knapp-Ard and her husband Cleve of Matthews, N.C., and Vikki Athen of Santa Clara, Calif.; great-grandchildren, Dane Timothy Creger and his wife, Candi, Thadeus Creger and his wife, Lorasa, all of Pendleton, Jewel Marie Jensen and Jessica Jensen, both of Baker City, Alice Michelle Jensen who is serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, Justin Lee Jensen of Woodburn, Shane Russell Sturdivant of Alabama, Dylan Russell of Baker City, Alissa Rene and James Waggerby of Aurora, Auriana Grey and Lauren Page Bonner of Aurora, Colo., Camlin Rene Ard of North Carolina and Suzanne Elizabeth Athen of Santa Clara, Calif.; and great-great-grandsons, Tyson and Austin Creger of Pendleton and Jonathon and Jayden Griffith of Baker City.
Emma was preceded in death by both sets of parents and her children, Barbara, Keith and Verna Gay Shipman.
Memorial contributions may be made to Baker City Christian Church Building Fund through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, August 1, 2003
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor