Curtis Neil Shipley, age 86, died on June 30, 2021 at his home.
He was born October 19, 1934, the son of Oscar and Fern Shipley. He grew up on a farm near Goddard, KS and was a graduate of Goddard High School, class of 1952. During his high school years he was active in all sports and went to Hutchinson Junior College on an athletic scholarship. He played both football and basketball for two years. He then graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education in 1956 and later added a Master’s degree in Education Administration from Fort Hays State University.
On August 12, 1956, he and Judy Zerener were united in marriage at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, a landmark, located on a country hill near Cheney, KS. Curt coached football, basketball and track two seasons as his first post-college job at Milton High School. This small school had losing seasons in basketball for a number of years before he came. In 1956-57, his Milton Cagers finished 13-7. The next season, they were 19-4 and won league and district titles.
In 1959, Curt took a position of assistant basketball coach at Garden City High School. After five seasons as assistant, he was elevated to Head Basketball Coach. The highlight of his career was winning the Kansas State High School Championship in 1966. He and his team were inducted into the 2019 Class of the Garden High School Athletic Hall of Fame. When asked what the best thing about being a coach, he said “You always strive for the win, but the best thing about coaching is the bond and relationship with the team.”
The next move was to Butler Community College in 1970, as head basketball coach. In 1979, he also became Athletic Director and was instrumental in getting the tennis courts built. He was tennis coach for 12 years. He served as AD until 1982, when he became a Dean in charge of Math and Science.
During his 26 years at Butler, Curt maintained an open-door philosophy which was evident by the number of facility and staff that would come and go from his office. “To me, there is only one way to be, you have to be accessible and let them know you are in their corner. My sole purpose as Dean is to help teachers become better teachers.”
Curt enjoyed his time as Dean but his real love was coaching young athletics. He said “People always equate success in athletics with winning, but that isn’t always the case. If they do the best they can, they are a winner.”
Throughout his life, Curt could be found looking for walleye at El Dorado Lake, trout in South Fork, CO and enjoying family time at the Smoots Creek in Kingman County.
Preceding him in death were his parents and sisters, Jacquie Nelson and Judy French.
Curt is survived by the love of his life, Judy, after a 70 year storybook relationship and 65 years of marriage; children, Jeff (J.J.) Shipley, Stacey (Richard) Homuth and Stephanie (Jeff) Nichols; grandchildren, Clint (Rachael) Shipley, Darrick (Jamie) Shipley, Rick, Michael and Paul Homuth, Sammy and Jenna Nichols; brother, Kermit (Shirley) Shipley; sister in laws, Joyce Lehner and Jan (Earl) Reno; aunt, Marilyn Klein; nieces and nephews, Brad Lehner, Jodie Schendel, Chris Green, Amy Lester, Megan, Stuke, Brett Shipley, Ashley Gilpin and Monte Nelson.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to “The Shipley Family Scholarship” care of Butler County Community College Foundation. Our sincere gratitude to Gina and Nicole of Heartland Home Healthcare and Hospice for their loving care.
Visitation with teh family will be on Wednesday, July 7th from 5:00-7:00 PM at Carlson Funeral Home. The celebration of his life will be on July 8th at 10:00 AM at Grace Lutheran Church of El Dorado. Curt will be buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery, located on the hill near Cheney, where he and Judy were married and started their lives together.
Please sign his online guestbook at www.carlsonkirbymorris.com
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The Shipley Family Scholarship c/o Butler Community College Foundation
901 S Haverhill Rd, El Dorado KS 67042