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Former Superintendent Ward Nathaniel Sipes | 1934–2020

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Ward Nathaniel Sipes, age 86, died on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Jackson, Michigan, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.

Rev. Sipes is survived by his wife, Bonnie Lee (Burke) Sipes, of Jackson; his son, Gregory, of Indianapolis; his daughter, Tamara Jo Bailey, of Indianapolis; and his son Tadd, of Roanoke, Virginia; a half-brother, Paul, of Atlanta; and a half-sister, Betty, of Clio, Michigan: five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his brother, John Charles, of Rochester, New York; and his mother and father.

He was born on March 31, 1934, in Fenton, Michigan, to parents Ward Edward and Bertha Marie (Callard). He graduated from Spring Arbor High School (1952) and Spring Arbor College in 1954 (A.A.) and 1980 with a bachelor’s degree. He married Bonnie Lee Burke in 1954 and the couple had three children.

Rev. Sipes served several churches in the East Michigan Conference of the Free Methodist Church, including Flint, Bay City, Midland, and Davison. He concluded his full-time ministry as conference superintendent of the same conference he served as a pastor, retiring in 1999. During retirement he served on the pastoral staff of the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church.

He was a great family man and a loving father. He was deeply involved in the church for the majority of his life. He enjoyed people, sports, and music. His family and friends will always remember him as a gregarious, fun-loving, and ­­­­­­­caring person.

Memorial observances will be announced for a later date, likely the spring of 2021. Memorial gifts can be made to International Child Care Ministries (Free Methodist Church – USA) or Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church.

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