George Robert Hipple, 1928-2020

Feb 1, 2021


George Robert Hipple, 92, of Pierre, South Dakota, died peacefully on Jan. 1, 2021, at Avera Maryhouse in Pierre, South Dakota.

George’s visitation was Jan. 7 at Isburg Funeral Chapel of Pierre, with the funeral following on Jan. 8 at the First United Methodist Church of Pierre. There were no graveside services.

George was born on March 5, 1928, to Robert and Lois (Henry) Hipple with his twin brother, John. George was raised in Pierre but spent many summers in Hisega in the Black Hills. George attended school in Pierre, graduating from Pierre High School. While in high school, the twins had the opportunity to participate in a surveying trip to Alaska for a summer. This was a working trip where they traveled by canoe and lived off dried food and the bounty of the land.
After graduation, George and John joined the Army Air Force, taking basic training in Florida and being stationed together in Greenland. While in the Air Force, the twins were able to apply their love of photography in analyzing the aerial photographs they took. After completing their service, the twins used their GI Bill to attend Yale University, their dad’s alma mater.

Their joint adventures continued at Yale, with both George and John making the varsity basketball and track teams. After their senior year, the twins made the Harvard–Yale traveling track team.

That summer they sailed by ship to Europe, spending the entire summer traveling and competing in track meets with that team. They competed in both running and jumping events, even setting a few records.

When they graduated college and completed their travels, they returned to Pierre to begin work at the Capital Journal, the family newspaper business. George took on the business and production aspects of the work, while John jumped into the news business, writing and taking pictures. They worked through the conversion from letterpresses to offset presses and into the digital age. As the business grew, they had to move to larger facilities two different times. It isn’t easy moving a printing press!

George met Janet Nellermoe at a New Year’s Eve Dance at the Pierre City Auditorium. After courting, George married Jan on May 17, 1953, in the Lutheran Memorial Church in Pierre. They spent their honeymoon at the family cabin in Hisega, South Dakota. Then they came back to Pierre and moved into an apartment in the old State Theater building in downtown Pierre. George and Jan had three children, Kevin, Terry and Chris. At 5 p.m. on Friday night, you would find George and Jan having dinner with their crew at the Cattleman’s Club. After Jan died, George continued their Friday night tradition. George missed very few Friday night dinners at Cattleman’s until this year when COVID-19 hit.

George and Jan were dancers, spending many wonderful evenings dancing with their friends at varied venues across the state. They always seemed somewhat disappointed that their children did not inherit that passion. George was also an avid bowler, eventually being inducted into the Bowling Hall of Fame. He spent many enjoyable hours bowling with his friends at the various bowling alleys in the area. George was able to keep bowling until the final year of his life.

George was a lifelong outdoorsman. He enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing, archery and boating.

According to George, he drove the last boat through the final opening in the Missouri River before they closed it in, creating the Oahe Dam. George was instrumental in starting the Oahe Yacht Club to help coordinate the early boating adventures as the waters started to rise behind the dams on the Missouri River. George was also involved in the How Kota Bowmen archery club and other clubs and civic groups in the Pierre area. In addition, he was involved in the state and national newspaper associations.

George was preceded in death by his wife, Janet Faye Nellermoe Hipple, and his parents. He is survived by his twin brother, John, and his three sons, Kevin (Jo Anne) of Pierre, S.D., Terry (Cindy) of Rapid City, S.D, and Chris of Black Hawk, S.D. George enjoyed spending time with his grandkids: Justin, Eric, Ryan, Jayme, Kimberly, Seth, Colton and Derek, as well as his great-grandchildren: Jackson, Tenley, Hope and Jayce.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, you consider a gift to the Pierre Junior Shooters, the Izaak Walton youth trap shooting program, the How Kota Bowmen Archery Club youth shooting program or Pierre Youth Bowling league.