Hubert WhipfHubert Whipf, 98, Dickinson, died Friday, Jan. 11, at the St. Benedict’s Health Center, Dickinson.
Hubert Whipf, 98, Dickinson, died Friday, Jan. 11, at the St. Benedict’s Health Center, Dickinson.
Hubert’s Mass of Christian burial is 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Dickinson, with Rev. Keith Streifel as the celebrant. Interment will take place in the spring at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
Visitation is Monday from noon to 7 p.m. at Ladbury Funeral Service, with a rosary and vigil service at 7 p.m., with Deacon Dallas Carlson presiding.
Hubert Whipf, known affectionately to relatives and friends as “Hoover,” was born in Elgin, on Sept. 17, 1914, the son of John and Theresa (Haberman) Whipf. His early years were spent in Elgin, but as a youngster he began a life of manual labor at a wide variety of tasks that continued into his 90s.
Family financial circumstances demanded that he, his two brothers, and a sister were literally farmed out to relatives. Hubert recalled living with an uncle as well as working on his grandfather’s farm.
He had almost no formal schooling since he was much like an indentured servant with the relatives. He remembered running away from his grandparent’s farm before he was a teenager, ending up in South Dakota and working in a restaurant.
With no place to live but getting only meals as payment, he spent a few months sleeping in an abandoned car. A farm couple in the area took him to their place and gave him a room and he recalled them being the kindest people he knew in his youth.
At age 14, he started working in coal mines in various parts of North Dakota, first at Haynes, then at the Binek mine in Lehigh. Mine owner Frank Binek’s wife was a sister to Hubert’s mother and he spent some years with the family.
But during the early part of the Great Depression, Hubert decided to head west in search of a job. He rode the freight trains to Washington and Oregon, and worked in various fruit orchards near Pendleton, Ore., and Walla Walla, Wash. There he made some lifelong friends he’d encounter many years later.
Hubert had met a Dickinson girl, Phyllis Hopfauf, and while “out west” they were married in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Aug. 3, 1942. They returned to Dickinson and with them brought their daughter, Rosemary.
He was doing various jobs around the community when he was approached by Montgomery Ward who said they would train him install furnaces and do plumbing.
Under his mentors, Chuck Hagburg and John Paulish, and after 15 years with Montgomery Ward, Hubert started his own business, Whipf Plumbing and Heating, and over the next 30 years or so he said “he put in a whole lot of furnaces. He was especially proud of the fact that he was able to install the first indoor plumbing in many a farm residence all over western North Dakota, starting in 1959, when FmHA loans became available for such improvements.
Hubert had number of hobbies that he pursued with a passion. He was an avid bowler, he hunted deer, and once got a moose in Canada, he made many a fishing trip into Saskatchewan; he loved to travel and did so with his family and some relatives throughout the western United States.
On the Fourth of July, he would purchase huge amounts of fireworks and entertain his daughter and many nieces and nephews with a spectacular display. At Christmas time, he was one of the very first in Dickinson to decorate and light up his house and yard on East Third Street.
Another sideline business was selling Prowler camping trailers and Pace Arrow mini-homes. He’d drive day and night to pick up the trailers, first to Oregon and later to Omaha. While obtaining the Prowler trailers in Oregon, he would stop at the orchards where he had worked as a young man, and would bring back cases of tree ripened cherries, peaches, apples or apricots that he’d sell to relatives, friends, and neighbors in Dickinson.
His wife, Phyllis, died Jan. 1, 1986, and Hubert then married Eleanor Faller on Nov. 21, 1986. He continued working well into his 90s, enjoyed gardening and remained active nearly all his life.
Hubert is survived by his daughter, Rosemary Whipf; five step-children, Jodene (Wade) Kadrmas, Dickinson, Sandra (Kevin) Booke, Gladstone, Tammy (Terry) Zastoupil, Dickinson, Terry (Susan) Symionow, Dickinson, and Debbie (Jerry) Haich, Gladstone; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis; his wife, Eleanor, on Jan. 26, 2009; his parents; his brother, Ted; and sister, Florence.
Arrangements are with Ladbury Funeral Service, Dickinson.
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