Former Member for Wagga Joe Schipp has been remembered as a “builder”, a dedicated community servant and a family man with a cheeky sense of humour.
Mr Schipp died last month at the age of 85, on the day he was to have delivered the eulogy at the funeral of his friend and fellow former MP for Wagga, Wal Fife.
His wife Rhonda passed away in March and he was survived by sons and daughters-in-law Daryl and Trish and Glenn and Karen, and grandchildren Lauren, Adam, Zoe, Erin and Riley.
At a service in St John’s Anglican Church on Tuesday, Daryl said of his father, “in essence we have lost a builder”.
“A builder of sheds and gates. He loved building and used it as therapy for politics. So rest assured, the pearly gates will have had a once-over to make sure they are hanging straight,” Daryl said.
““A builder of self-worth for those who battled. A builder of communities, particularly Wagga. A builder who built many things around the state. A builder of friendships. A builder of family.”
Daryl said his father had still had a great deal to offer the community. He was busy with the Water for Lake Albert Group and the Riverina Cancer Care Centre.
Mr Schipp, who was born at Mudgee, was a tennis enthusiast from a young age.
“He also beat Tony Roche. Tony was only 12 and Dad was 16,” Daryl said.
Mr Schipp trained a teacher, but he and his wife later opened Schipp’s Sports Store.
“In addition to sports gear, they sold boats, which introduced him to the lake. He was one of the first to put a power boat on the lake and have skiing weekends,” Daryl said.
Mr Schipp entered politics in 1975.
He later became Minister for Housing and later Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing.
Daryl said his father once introduced himself to the Prince of Wales as the “Member Member for Wagga Wagga”, a quip which led to a chat between the MP and Prince Charles.
He also recalled his father’s contribution in getting a major hospital upgrade, the Gobba Bridge and the upgrading of Byrnes Road.
He said his father worked with fellow MP Alby Schultz to secure the jail for Junee and to make sure Charles Sturt University was a stand-alone facility, not a “sub-branch of the Sydney University”.
“He retired in 1999 and dedicated himself to the Riverina Cancer Care Centre, Wagga tennis court upgrade, his farm and his family,” Daryl said.
Mr Schipp had had an opinion on everything, and his strongest sounding board was his wife.
“He did miss her deeply,” Daryl said.
Former leader of the NSW Liberal Party Bruce McDonald paid tribute to Mr Schipp’s contribution to NSW and to State Parliament, while grandson Adam Schipp recalled the fun he had with “Pop” on his family, sharing tales of his grandfather’s much-loved dogs and old farm truck with a dodgy park brake.