World needs more like former mayor and wife
by Marguerite Cline
March 15, 2013 01:42 AM | 1412 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Carrie Mae Kemp and Theron Huie Shipp married, the wedding announcement in her local newspaper described the bride as charming and gracious.

The announcement also said that the newlyweds would live in Canton. Two years earlier Mr. Shipp had begun his career with Canton Wholesale Company. Later he became the manager of the company and worked there for 51 years.

Together and separately, they made their mark on the city of Canton and Cherokee County. Those who knew them said that they never heard a negative remark about either of them. The Shipps were both salt of the earth people.

Mr. Shipp became a member of the Canton City Council and then was the mayor for two terms. Those were not easy years. During that time, the workers at the cotton mills unionized and then went on strike.

Mayor Shipp was known for thinking things through and then doing what he felt was right. Not everyone was pleased with that, yet, he remained respected and trusted for his honesty and fairness.

His church, family and friends came first in his life. After that were his hunting dogs, bird hunting and fishing.

Early in his life, during the summers, Gene Norton worked for Mr. Shipp at Canton Wholesale Company. They became close and often went bird hunting together.

One day they were hunting at Holcombe Bottoms near Ball Ground. Suddenly Gene remembered it was election day. Mr. Shipp was running for re-election for mayor. When Gene reminded Mr. Shipp of it, he said that he was just as well off enjoying bird hunting as worrying about getting re-elected.

As it turned out, it was a doubly good day for Mr. Shipp. He got re-elected and they killed six quail.

Mr. Shipp often wore a bow tie and would forget to take it off when he went hunting or fishing. Another of his fishing and hunting buddies, Jim Manous, would tell Mr. Shipp the tie had to go if he was going with him. Off came the tie.

Carrie Shipp was a teacher. She had attended A&M College in Powder Springs for three sessions. Later she furthered her education at North Georgia College. When she retired after 30 years, she had either taught or been a substitute teacher at every school in Cherokee County.

You may remember a television show of years ago, “Queen for a Day.” While teaching at Holly Springs, Ms. Shipp, reluctantly, was “Principal for a Few Days.”

It happened when then Holly Springs Elementary principal, Gene Norton, and school secretary, Willie Bea McCurley, were called for grand jury duty at the same time. Even though he explained how hard it was for the principal and secretary of a school to be out at the same time, neither could get excused.

Ms. Shipp got a call to come to the principal’s office. Gene told her that since everyone had such respect for her, he wanted her to man the office while they were gone.

It was not something she wanted to do. She was concerned about doing two jobs at the same time and being away from her classroom.

But, she found herself putting bandages on cuts and scrapes, consoling crying children and listening to complaining adults for several days.

When Gene and Bea returned after the grand jury adjourned, Ms. Shipp told him, “Don’t you ever do that to me again. I was half crazy before you left and now I’m as crazy as a bat.”

Both Mr. and Ms. Shipp left their legacy in the minds and on the hearts of the people who knew them. As mayor he was instrumental in bringing natural gas to the city and also for building the city’s first housing project. The street on which it is located, Shipp Street, was named for him.

Carrie Shipp led in organizing and then teaching in the first school for those with special needs. The Canton Jaycees sponsored the school.

Regularly attending with their children, Mae and Joyce, the Shipps were leaders in Canton First Methodist Church. Both Mae Shipp Reeves and Joyce Shipp Cain became teachers.

Mr. and Mrs. Shipp were blessed with six grandchildren — Donna Cain Callahan, Shipp Cain, Cari Cain, Lynn Sellers Cain, Larry Sellers and Wade Hampton Sellers IV.

After retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Shipp worked with Mae and Joyce in their flower shop in Canton.

Theron and Carrie Shipp were happy, honest and kind. Not critical of others, they were good role models and peacemakers.

The world needs more people like Carrie and Theron Shipp.

Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.
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