George A. Wipfield, who worked for nearly six decades and was a newspaper route carrier for much of that time, died in his sleep Monday at Morningside House at Satyr Hill. The longtime Hampden resident was 100.
Known as Wip, Uncle Wip or Mister Wip, Mr. Wipfield was born and raised on West Pratt Street and graduated from the old St. Martin's Academy, a commercial school, in 1923. He studied bookkeeping and played on baseball and basketball teams.
Family members said his affection for sports lasted a lifetime, both as a player in various leagues and as a coach and manager of Hampden Little League teams until he was in his 70s.
According to a family history he prepared, Mr. Wipfield began work in 1923 as a salesman for the wholesale drug firm H.B. Gilpin & Co. He later worked at the Southwest Baltimore meatpacker Corkran Hill & Co., but quit because he disliked the cold in the meat lockers. He then took a job with United Fruit Co. in Baltimore, but left it after his bosses transferred him to New York for a year and he became homesick.
He returned to Baltimore about 1928 and joined the old Hochschild Kohn department store.
In 1938, he became a Baltimore News-Post and Sunday American route carrier and remained at that post for 41 years. He moved his family to Hampden and delivered six-day-a-week afternoon papers and the Sunday morning edition to subscribers in Roland Park, Homeland and Guilford.
"He delivered 1,000 papers a day from an old station wagon," said his daughter Janice Wipfield of Hampden, who said he also supervised the hiring of neighborhood boys to assist him.
"He loved that job. He was so dedicated. We had some bad snows, and he'd be out all night on a Saturday," his daughter said.
She recalled her father struggling to put chains on his station wagon to get the vehicle through the Roland Park hills on snowy days.
Mr. Wipfield received numerous Honorary Carrier Awards for his dedication and service to his newspaper customers. He also worked 41 years, part time, servicing Take Your Own Photo machines.
He retired in 1979 to take care of his wife, the former Helen Chaney, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. She died in 1982.
Mr. Wipfield was a longtime member of the Old Timers' Association and the St. Thomas Aquinas Men's Club.
In his 80s and 90s, he attended a 7 a.m. daily Mass and began another career - as an altar boy at his parish church.
Mr. Wipfield also was a dedicated Orioles fan and was a regular at Memorial Stadium. He also followed the Colts and Ravens. In his 80s, he participated in basketball at the yearly Maryland Senior Olympics and won many silver and gold medals.
Besides his love of sports, Mr. Wipfield very much enjoyed being with his family and friends.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Church on Hickory Avenue.
In addition to his daughter, survivors include another daughter, Carol Fialkowski of Baldwin; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. A son, George Ronald Wipfield, died in 2004.