(MURFREESBORO) A longtime talent on WGNS passed away Friday (12/7/2018) morning at NHC Rehab Center here in Murfreesboro. Sophie Tipton Haislip performed regularly on WGNS with her first husband, the late Carl Tipton and the Mid State Playboys.
She was doubly connected to the Good Neighbor Station, as her brother was the late Floyd Leonard.
(L-R photo ID) Johnny Cash, Sophie Tipton holding grandson Jonathan Ellis, June Carter Cash, and Carl Tipton)
Sophie visited WGNS in 2014 and told us about her memories of Carl and his radio show . . .
Carl Tipton died September 10, 1989.
In the forties, fifties and sixties, Tipton and the Mid-State Playboys did a "live" radio show on WGNS from a different local business every day.
Sophie was on WGNS in 2014 and she described the radio studios when they were above the French Shop on the local square. That would have been from 1947 to 1959. In 1960, a two-story building was built for WGNS at 306 South Church Street. The station continues to operate from that location, just off the square.
WGNS has always focused on promoting the importance of shopping with local businesses. In the 1950's, Murfreesboro Extra Value Days had a parade that went around the square. Carl Tipton was a part of that event and even helped to sell advertising for things like that. Tipton was one of the early figures who helped to shape WGNS in the early days of local radio.
After many years of being a widow, Sophie married the late Alton Haislip (died January 2, 2007). She found a new purpose in life when she and Alton "Pops" renewed their acquaintance and later married.
She loved Pops and all his children and grandchildren just like they were her own. They had 10 wonderful years of laughter, traveling, camping, yard sales, and hosting music and fish fries at the lake house. While living on the lake in Mt. Juliet they worshiped at the church of Christ at Green Hill and made many life long friends.
Shortly after being on WGNS, in 2014, she left her home of 60+ years and moved to Stones River Manor Assisted Living. While this was one of the hardest decisions she had to make, she came to love the people and her life at the Manor. She often said, "I have learned to be content whatever my circumstances," paraphrasing the apostle Paul's words in Philippians 4:12.
She was a singer and a writer, composing many songs and filling journals with her thoughts of God, heaven, family and music. One of her recent favorite songs was "The Sun's Coming Up in the Morning" by Dee Gaskins.
As noted earlier, another great WGNS' connection for Sophie Tipton was her brother Floyd Leonard. He also played with Carl Tipton' popular Mid State Playboys.
Floyd was known as "Ne-hi". In 2012, Floyd shared the story of how he acquired that nickname . . .
In the forties, fifties and sixties, Leonard was a significant part of Carl Tipton and the Mid-State Playboys band and did a "live" radio show on WGNS from a different local business every day. Leonard told this story of how he acquired the "Ne-hi" nickname when he was on WGNS November, 2012. Less than a month later (December 31, 2012), Floyd was gone as well.
One of the locations where the Mid-State Playboys played in the late 1940's was at Buddy Norris and Stanley Leverette's Mobil Oil gas station. In 1948, the gas station was on the corner of Maple and Lytle Streets.
Here is a recording of an early radio show with Carl Tipton and the Mid State Playboys on WGNS from the late 40's. The photo shows Sophie, to left of Carl (the man with the WGNS microphone above him). To the right of Carl is former WGNS announcer and State Representative John Hood. CLICK HERE
Visitation with the family of Sophie Tipton Haislip will be 4:00-8:00 PM, Sunday, December 9, 2018 at Jennings and Ayers Funeral Home.
Chapel service will be 11:00 AM, Monday, December 10, 2018 at Jennings and Ayers Funeral Home with Jim Creech and Paul Norwood officiating. Burial will follow in Roselawn Memorial Gardens.
Sophie was born in the Walter Hill Community. She enjoyed amusing folks with her many names which usually brought questions and allowed her to tell her stories of the past, something she held very dear. She attended Walter Hill School, got married at the age of 14, raised four children all while maintaining a Christian home and music career that spanned 40 years. She loved and nurtured grandchildren and great-grandchildren, befriended countless folks from all walks of life, and influenced numerous souls for Christ. She was a member of the church of Christ at Walter Hill where she attended from the age of five years until her health kept her indoors.
She is survived by sons, Joe (Debbie) Tipton and Bill (Vanessa) Tipton, Daniel (Natalie) Haislip, daughters, Betty (Ken) Chambers, Linda (Dewey) Dodson and Lisa Haislip (Bret) Randall and sister, Louise Tomberlain; grandchildren: Brian Tipton, Brent Tipton, Jonathan (Suzi) Ellis, Phillip (Rebecca) Ellis, Jesse (Jodi) Chambers, Sarah Chambers, Jordan Dodson, Grace (Tyler) Paul, Austin (Shelby) Tipton, Jacob Tipton, Jason (Melissa) Haislip, Josh (Mallonee) Haislip, Jamie (Bobby) Dixon, Charisse (James) Christensen, Ella Randall, and Hannah Randall; great-grandchildren: Tyler, Taylor, Olivia, Caleb, Evelyn, Britton, Cooper, Oliver, Anna, Jacy, Jaxson, Olivia, RosaLee, Justin, Elizabeth, Andrew, Katrina, Troy, and John; many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.