Anna “Nancy” Guinan Hipp, 86, of Warminster, a special-education administrator with a zest for life and family, died Thursday, April 29, at her Warminster home.
“My mom loved fun,” said son Paul Hipp. “Her approach to life was you work hard, you value friends and family, and above all, you have a good time. And my mom had a way of getting things done, always with fun.”
Raised in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, Mrs. Hipp was one of four children born to Joseph Guinan Sr. and Anna Elizabeth Guinan. She was a graduate of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School and, in 1954, she married John Hipp, had five children and raised them in Warminster.
Mrs. Hipp later was moved to help children while working as a secretary in the guidance department of Archbishop Wood High School. So when her youngest children were in middle school, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Temple University while working during the day.
She later earned a master’s degree in psychology from Temple and became director of special education for the Lower Moreland school system.
“She went on to help countless kids,” her son said.
Meanwhile, she left her own kids lots of stories. Suffice to say she never lost her Philly edge.
There was the time, according to her son, that his mom and his brother Joseph were looking for the perfect tree on Christmas Eve. His mother was sure all the regular vendors were asking too much, so she insisted they drive on. Suddenly, she spied the perfect tree. It was growing in a cemetery.
“They’ve got plenty of trees and they’re not going to miss it. They’re all dead,” Mrs. Hipp told a protesting Joseph.
She ultimately relented, and they eventually found a tree — that was actually for sale — elsewhere.
Years later, Mrs. Hipp and her husband were honored guests when Paul was nominated for a Tony Award for the starring role in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Mrs. Hipp attended the awards ceremony in a beautiful sequined dress that she told her son she got at Goodwill for $30. She then proceeded to have her photo taken with just about every celebrity in the place. She had a ball.
The next summer, Mrs. Hipp had a yard sale. The Goodwill dress was on display on a special hanger, accompanied by a sign with photos of Mrs. Hipp with all the celebrities and the message: “This dress worn to the Tony Awards.”
“She sold it for 100 bucks,” Paul said.
Mrs. Hipp left her loved ones with many other memories, too — her annual Bunny Bash, for example. Grandkids, great-grandchildren, cousins — they all would come together for her Easter extravaganza, complete with a massive Easter egg hunt. Christmases were epic, too. Birthday observances lasted days.
In the closing months of her life, Mrs. Hipp had family near. Her daughter, Theresa Hipp, a hospice nurse, cared for her at home. Paul recalled his mom loved music, so on one visit he took out his guitar so they could sing together. Mrs. Hipp, ever the ironic one, started rocking out to an old Buddy Holly tune for her son, the actor:
Well, that’ll be the day when you say goodbye,
Yes, that’ll be the day when you make me cry,
You say you’re gonna leave; you know it’s a lie
‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die …
In addition to her husband, sons, and daughter, Mrs. Hipp is survived by sons Jack and Robert; a brother; a sister; eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; and other relatives. Another brother died earlier.
A funeral was held Wednesday, May 5.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Visitation BVM Catholic School, 300 E. Lehigh Ave., Philadelphia Pa. 19125.