Father Clair Joseph Tipping was born on December 8, 1925, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. He had great devotion to our Blessed Mother and in his later years to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. December 23, 1932 he was baptized Clair Joseph by Father Minehan, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Toronto. In 1932 Clair made his First Communion and later received the Sacrament of Confirmation in his parish church.
Father Clair's parents were devout Catholics. His father, Dr. C.E. Tipping initiated the Department of anesthesiology at St. Joseph's Hospital, Toronto and was Chief of the Department for many years. His mother, Estelle was the first Treasurer of St. Joseph's Hospital gift shop and also President of the Toronto Archdiocesan Catholic Women's League. Both parents were members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Father Tipping had three sisters, Estelle, a medical secretary, Margaret, a teacher and Elizabeth a registered nurse. His one brother, Alan, was Chaplain at Sunnybrook Hospital.
During his younger years Father Clair Tipping enjoyed sports and was an excellent water skier. He loved music, playing the piano and the violin. Throughout his life he had a keen appreciation for music, particularly classical music. Clair attended St. Vincent de Paul elementary school and DeLaSalle Oakland's High School in Toronto. He received his B.A. from the University of Toronto.
In 1944 Clair joined the army and served overseas primarily in Holland. He was nineteen years old. After returning home, he entered St. Augustine Seminary and received Minor Orders from Bishop Webster, auxiliary Bishop of Toronto. On May 30, 1953, he was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence James Cardinal McGulgan.
Father Tipping first appointment was as curate at St. Mary's Church on Bathurst Street in Toronto. Here, he started a boy's club and a bugle band. From there he served at Holy Cross parish in East Toronto where he again formed a youth club. He was associate pastor at St. Cecelia's parish and finally at St. Margaret's parish where he served at the mission church, St. Eugene's.
In 1969, Father Tipping was named Pastor of St. John Fisher Church in Bramalea. This was a time of great joy in his life. On the 10th Anniversary of the parish, Father held a special ceremony where ten trees were planted in front of the church. Today they stand proud and tall. The beautiful stained glass windows and the oil painting of St. John Fisher were installed through the generosity of the parishioners at the urging of their pastor, Father Tipping.
Father was a Chaplain for the Reserve Amy and for the Knights of Columbus. He became a Knight in March 1956 and joined the Fourth Degree Knights in 1977.
The same year, cancer was discovered in his throat which resulted in the removal of his voice box. He could not speak. For one year he struggled to master this enormous disadvantage. It was a struggle. He never complained. He always had a smile. On the 25th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood he spoke to the parishoners using a microphone and an assistive device.
Father Tipping died of cancer in Providence Villa Hospital, Scarborough, on July 20, 1980. He is buried at St. Augustine Priest cemetery in Scarborough.
Biography Prepared by:
The Tipping Family