William Jerry Flippin, 91, of Milan, Tenn. died peacefully on August 3, 2019 at home surrounded by family.
He was husband of Sara Floyd Flippin who predeceased him in 2016 and father of William (Bill) Jerry Flippin Jr., Floyd Senter Flippin (Guinda) and Thomas Houston Flippin (Susan), and grandfather of Jacob Graves Flippin, Clint Kirby Flippin and Claire Elizabeth Flippin.
Mr. Flippin was predeceased in death by his grandson, W. J. (Trey) Flippin III.
He was the first child of Gerald Senter Flippin and wife, Kate Stewart Flippin. His surviving sister is Carolyn Flippin Tate (Jesse).
He graduated from Columbia Military Academy after attending Milan School System and then served in the 25th Infantry Division near the end of World War II in the Pacific Theatre and occupation of Japan. Upon discharge from U.S. Army, he completed his college pre-law at Rhodes College and went on to Vanderbilt Law School where in his senior year, he met the love of his life, Sara Floyd, of Nashville, on campus.
Upon graduation from Vanderbilt Law School, he became the fourth generation Flippin to come home to begin his career. He started a solo practice, which developed into the present law firm of Flippin, Collins, and Hill.
During the early days of law practice, he was elected to two terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives and three terms in the State Senate. He was selected as Majority Leader and Administration Floor Leader in his last term. He served as Speaker of The Senate for part of his second term. Having a concern for high school graduates who could not afford regular college but needed a skill, he was Chief Sponsor of The Area Vocational Training School Bill and to pay for same, he sponsored the extension of the state sales tax to utility bills. With his wife, Sara, at home raising three sons with their dad spending much time in Nashville, he decided he was needed more at home and effectively ended his political career by not running for office when his term expired.
Putting full effort in the law practice, he represented individuals and local corporations in litigation across the nation including cases in Hawaii and Alaska.
He was a fellow of both The American and Tennessee Bar Foundation and chairman of The Legal Section of The American Public Power Association and an advocate of The American Board of Trial Attorneys.
In the community, he was one of the founders of The Milan Golf and Country Club and had leadership roles in Milan Little League, the Lions Club, Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce.
Always active in Christian endeavors, he taught Sunday school for over 60 years at First United Methodist Church where he served as chairman of the Administrative Board and District Lay Leader. He was the founder and presiding chairman of the Milan Unity Prayer Breakfast consisting of men who meet monthly for spiritual growth. He served as leader for over 23 years.
Going outside the local community in efforts to promote the Christian Kingdom, he led and participated in the Lay Witness Mission program, an evangelical movement in churches in Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Illinois. He also enjoyed mission trips to the Redbird Mission in the Appalachia Mountains.
On the international scene, he involved himself with joining mission trips sponsored by Volunteers in Mission and served in The Philippine Islands, Costa Rica, Netherland Antilles, Honduras, Africa, Cuba, Estonia and Russia as the Communist Iron Curtain was lifted and churches long closed had to be repaired rebuilt.
He wanted to do more because his life had been so blessed by God despite his acknowledged shortcomings, however, age was taking its toll and he spent his later years, encouraging and motivating younger men to take his place. God called home this servant of the most high where he joined his beloved Sara, in that perfect and forever rest.
He and his wife, Sara, both gave their bodies to Vanderbilt University Medical School where he hopes he can give back to those who came to the Medical School to learn just as he had at Vanderbilt Law School. So where they met, they will both end their earthly service.
A celebration of life service will be held on Sunday, August 25, 2019 at First United Methodist Church. Visitation will be 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with the service at 5 p.m. A catered meal will follow. Mr. Flippin wanted everyone to enjoy the meal with good fellowship and laughter.
Any memorials can be sent to The Mustard Seed, 2027 S. 2nd Street, Milan, TN 38358, Samaritan’s Purse, P. O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607, or the donor’s choice.