Robert W. Shipley, former owner of a Baltimore automotive machine shop and a boating enthusiast, died of cancer Wednesday at Franklin Square Hospital Center. The longtime Perry Hall resident was 78.
Mr. Shipley was born and raised on his grandfather's truck farm in Randallstown.
He was a 1945 graduate of Catonsville High School and served in the Navy as a machinist's mate from 1946 to 1950.
While in high school, Mr. Shipley began working for his father's company, Trimble & Fink Manufacturing Co. After serving in the Navy, he joined the Guilford Avenue business full time.
After his father's death in 1961, he became president and owner of the business, which he operated until selling it and retiring in the 1980s.
He was married in 1953 to Flornel "Flossie" Irwin, who introduced him to sailing.
In 1965, he purchased a Temple 38 sailing yacht, which he named Tipsy.
Mr. Shipley enjoyed racing and sailing the Chesapeake Bay aboard the Tipsy until 2005, when in failing health he sold the vessel to a nephew.
He was a member of the North Western Rifle and Pistol Club and the Pikesville Sportsman's Club. He was an avid skeet and target shooter.
In earlier years, he was a model railroader and built an extensive HO-gauge layout as well as cars, locomotives and buildings.
A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art's School of Drafting, Mr. Shipley also completed U.S. Power Squadron courses and held a captain's license for vessels up to 70 tons.
He was a longtime member of the Glenmar Sailing Association and the Spry Island Cruising Club.
He was also an accomplished woodworker and liked building models of ships.
Mr. Shipley was a member of Kenwood Presbyterian Church, 4601 Fullerton Ave., where services will be held at 10 a.m. today.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Shipley is survived by two sons, Roger W. Shipley of Baltimore and Michael A. Shipley of Panama City Beach, Fla.; a daughter, Susan C. Winner of Home Valley, Wash.; and four grandchildren.