Chat Room

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By Lance Coleman


Meet Charles Tippitt

Age: 64
Occupation: Owns a library book distributorship and sells books to public libraries and schools
Married to: Sue Ann, 9 years
Children: 2 daughters, 1 son and 2 grandchildren
Interesting note: Tippitt moved to Townsend in 1986 with his first wife, Mary, who died of cancer. In 1997, he opened the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library in her memory.


Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"Books have always fascinated me, so selling them was a natural choice. Having my own business allows me to develop my abilities and skills. I enjoy meeting new people."

What was your first paying job?
Tippitt’s first job was working as a brakeman for L & N Railroad from the time he was 23 to 26. "It was the first three years after I got out of college. I’d get on in Paris, Tenn., and go to Memphis or Bowling Green, Ky."

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
"Patience, because I can wait for success; it doesn’t have to happen instantly."

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"As a child I wanted to go to college and become a basketball coach, which I did for a period of time. I coached in the Benton County School System in West Tennessee in Camden."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
"My public voice. My family and friends tell me I am soft-spoken, so I would like to have a voice more dramatic and persuasive when I speak in public."

What is your passion?
"To be a positive influence in as many things as possible."

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
"President Jimmy Carter to discuss his inspiration for his work with Habitat for Humanity."

What do you hate?
"Stereotyping according to race, gender or place of birth. It happens all the time."

What’s your favorite quote?
" ‘There is a season for all things.’ I just think that something that will not be possible today, and at a later date, maybe it’s the time for it. Things happen for a purpose. You either take advantage of them or you don’t."

What is your dream vacation?
"Traveling the far West of the United States to enjoy its beauty."

Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
"Mountaineers."

What is your all-time favorite movie?
" ‘Shenandoah.’ I just liked Jimmy Stewart in that part."

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
"Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ which helped me realize wealth is not just earning money but creating relationships, personal values and being a positive influence in our communities."

Would you travel in space?
"No. I have no desire to travel there."

If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
Tippitt says he would travel to the time of the early settlement of the American West.
What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?
"The character Jimmy Stewart played in ‘Shenandoah,’ because he was willing to stand up for what he believed in."

If you couldn’t live in Blount County, where would you like to live?
Tippitt says he would live in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas.

Who has been the best United States president of the last 100 years and why?
"Ronald Reagan, for restoring hope to our nation in a bad time."

Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?
"I guess I’d have to say Franklin D. Roosevelt for the policies he started after the Depression."

What is your favorite sport and your favorite sport’s team?
"Baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals. My wife is originally from Missouri. We make it a point to see one or two games a year. I grew up listening to them on the radio."

What is the best present you ever received?
Tippitt says the best birthday present he ever received was in 1965 with the birth of his first daughter four days before his birthday.

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
"To treat others as you would want others to treat you."

Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
"Yes, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you take?
"My family."

If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?
"Help homeless and abused children."

What task or activity have you still not gotten around to doing?
"Do a book of my photography."

What are you guilty of?
Tippitt says he’s guilty of procrastinating.

Do you think there is life on other planets?
Tippitt says there is probably life on another planet in some form.

What is your favorite material possession?
"My camera. I just enjoy getting out in nature taking pictures."

What are you reading currently?
"I’m reading an old book -- ‘The Trail of Lonesome Pine,’ by John Fox. It’s about the Appalachian area during the late 1800s when they were doing coal mining.

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