ORMOND BEACH, Florida — William Basil Sipes, affectionately known as “Bill on the hill,” departed on his one way flight to Gloryland Nov. 6, 2019, after traveling a long and rocky road of illness.
He was born February 5, 1940, to Howard James Sipes and Theresa (Ritchie) Sipes in Meade County Kentucky. He served in the Kentucky Air National Guard, held an associate degree in electrical and industrial plant operations. He retired from Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, where he resided in Lake Junaluska, for 28 years. He was a natural and gifted dancer, storyteller and entertainer.
He and his wife, Judy D. (Austrew) Sipes, of 57 years, founded and served as leaders of the Oconaluftee Old Time Music Jam program, in the Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Mountain Farm Visitors Center. He also volunteered with farm life demonstrations at various mountain festivals and events.
His most treasured memory was visiting with Grandpa Jones of the “Hee Haw” television program and John Rice Irwin founder of Museum of Appalachia at Tennessee Homecoming. His greatest joy was traveling the southern Appalachian region and performing and attending the numerous music festivals and events.
He once said he would not ask the Lord for anything more if he could but have one small section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County and Oconaluftee Mountain Farm.
His last two years were spent in Volusia County, Florida, where he attended and found great joy in the music program at Barberville Pioneer Settlement.
He loved people and made no distinction between status or social standing. He loved people and they loved him in return. Most of all, he loved the Lord and was secure and certain of his destination and heavenly home.
He fought a good fight, he run the race, he kept the faith and has now put on his robe, crown and dancing shoes. He is survived by his wife, Judy D. Sipes of Ormond Beach, Florida, sisters, Angela Pike and Charlotte (Jack) Garner of Louisville, Kentucky; sister, Bonnie Mae (David) Mueller of Hochston, Georgia, numerous family members and friends.
A memorial service will be held Nov. 18, at 11 a.m. at Halifax Health Hospice Care Center, 235 Booth Road, Ormond Beach, Florid.
The family is in the care of Baldwin Brothers – New Smyrna Beach, Florid.
A memorial Old Time jam at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center in Cherokee will be announced at a later date.