Play Hard - A Tom Shipley Memorial Fund

This Designated Endowment Fund was started in May of 2017 by Beth Shipley, Tom's wife, and their children, Katrina, Brittainy, and Bill.  The purpose of the fund is to make annual grants to the Morton Community Unit School District 709 in Morton, Illinois (“District”) to assist in providing scholarships for qualifying junior high and high school students enrolled in boys baseball or band, with a tremendous work ethic, passion for their craft, and a desire to expand their skills and talents through experiences in travel leagues, private training, and summer camps/clinics.  The Fund's purpose shall be accomplished, by way of illustration and not by limitation, by defraying the activity fees for students to participate in extra-curricular activities, camps, competitions, etc., when their parents/caregivers cannot afford the associated fees.

Tom Shipley's motto was "Work hard and play hard."  His motivated work ethic started at the age of 10, selling holiday decorations to family and friends.  After attending Bradley University, he had a 30-year career at the Caterpillar Mapleton Foundry.  He retired in 1999 as a foreman over the Sand Systems and continued working for Caterpillar as a part-time consultant in Mexico, South America, and Europe for 10 years.  He enjoyed many of his retirement years "playing.”  Among his favorite activities included supporting the MHS marching band, watching his grandson’s little league games, and of course the Chicago Cubs.

“Work Hard and Play Hard!”
- Tom Shipley

In 1993, he watched his first marching band practice at Morton High School's Carper Field and heard the director call "Attention."  Immediately all 100 band members enthusiastically verbalized “hut” and all eyes were focused on the director.  This high level of discipline impressed Tom, and he knew that it was going to be a significant addition to the high school career.  For the rest of his life, he supported the band by attending practices, cheering on shows, and passionately volunteering.  Every year he was struck by their drive and eagerness to improve.  It was Tom’s wish to provide financial support to motivated band students so they might study in private lessons and attend band camps to foster their musicianship outside of band practices at MHS. 

In addition to band, Tom loved baseball.  He enjoyed playing as a kid both in little league and with his neighborhood friends.  The highlight of his day was listening to the Chicago Cubs with his family. He was loyal to the Cubs, thick and thin, always believing in "next year.”  Tom encouraged his son in little league, and then he was thrilled to support his son as a coach of his grandson’s baseball team.  Tom believed that it’s essential for young players to have a positive activity such as baseball to cultivate a strong work ethic and a passion for determination.  It was his desire to help fund young baseball players thru private coaching sessions, baseball clinics and camps to grow their skill base and love for the game.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to this endowment fund, please click the button below for online donations.  Or, you can mail a check to 105 E. Jefferson Street, Morton, IL 61550.