Pippin always a gentleman, friends recall

Published 1:20 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

Darwin Pippin was remembered this week as a Southern gentleman who excelled in business and gave back to his community.

Pippin died Thursday, two days after his 95th birthday.

Educated as a mechanical engineer at Auburn after service in World War II, Pippin and his wife, Dorothy Perkins Taylor Pippin, were owners of TP Flower and Gift Shop. He served as president of the Alabama Floral Association and the Alabama director for Florist Transworld Delivery, commonly known as FTD.

But he left the florist to join TPS, the warehouse division of Taylor Parts, at the invitation of Riley Taylor Sr., Pippin’s former co-worker Ralph Wells remembered Friday.

“Riley (Sr.) was putting together a warehouse division,” Wells recalled. “He and I were the first outside salesmen hired. We sold to independent parts stores all across Southeast.”

The sales staff eventually grew to eight, and Pippin was promoted to sales manager, covering warehouses in Montgomery, Mobile, Tallahassee and Andalusia.

“He was very prominent, and well respected,” Wells said.

When General Parts Inc., which operated as Carquest, acquired TPS in 1992, both men stayed on.

“Darwin was moved to market development and customer relations after that,” he recalled. “He retired in 2002 with a grand finale celebration in Montgomery with all of his associates.” Pippin continued to work as a consultant until 2007.

Wells said he will always remember Pippin as a gentleman. “He was a solid, Christian man,” he said. “He had the highest integrity men can have. He was a teacher, instructor, and friend to anyone who wanted to know him.”

The two families were so close, Wells’ children and grandchildren called Pippin by the nickname “PipPip.”

He often treated the grandchildren at McDonalds.

He loved being around children,” Wells said. “You never would think he would allow his living room to be messed up, but he had toys in there for the children with all of his nice, beautiful furniture. He loved our family and our family loved him.”

Friends reacted to the news of his death with kind remembrances on social media.

“Darwin and Dorothy were my neighbors when we first moved to Andalusia in 1977,” Linda Ward recalled. “They were always so sweet to me. He was one of the kindest men I’ve ever known. He was a true Southern gentleman. I am honored to have known him.”

“I was Darwin’s secretary in sales at TPS in my 20’s and he treated me like an adopted daughter, I think we adopted each other,” Judy Cooper said. “We kept in touch all through the years and he visited us numerous times. Darwin made such an impression in my life and taught me so many things through the years, I will forever be grateful. He was a true Southern Gentleman in every sense of the word.”

Funeral services as planned for 2 p.m. on Tuesday. For complete obituary information, see Page 5.