Michael Lydell Gipson
Austin - Michael Lydell "Gip" Gipson was a dearly beloved father, brother, life partner, friend to oh-so many, and an extraordinarily generous tipper whose radiance left an indelible impression on everyone who crossed his path. Sadly, Michael passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at his home in Austin, Texas on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Michael was born to Elmer Gene Gipson and Portia Yvonne Gipson on November 22, 1959 in Conroe, Texas. He grew up in Conroe and became a cherished member of the community. Michael attended Conroe High School where he was Vice President of the Student Council, a proud member of the Flare yearbook staff, and was recognized as one of the "Outstanding Seniors of 1978." He went on to attend Texas A&M University where he earned the "Distinguished Student" ranking, was named outstanding junior member of the Society of Black Engineers, and in 1982 earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
After his graduation from A&M, Michael embarked on a fulfilling and distinguished career in engineering, spending the last 26 years at Applied Materials in Austin, Texas where he worked with brilliant and respected colleagues whom he considered family. Michael was committed to and loved his work at Applied Materials which he always referred to as his "dream job." His expertise with and love for spreadsheets was nothing short of sublime. Michael's ingenuity, creative problem-solving ability, impeccable craftsmanship, and attention to detail was evident in every aspect of his life. He could fix anything. But perhaps Michael's most defining characteristic was the kind, generous, and attentive way with which he interacted with every person he encountered. His perpetual optimism was infectious—without effort, he encouraged and lifted people up. He gave great advice. He was completely present with whomever he spoke. He enabled the people around him to shine. Michael made people's day. He truly was one of a kind.
Michael was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his two children—the pride and joy of his life—Molly Kate Gipson and Kyle Patrick Gipson, his sister, Gina Gipson, his beloved life partner, Melissa Tothero, his adored aunts, Jimmie Shaw and Margie Taylor, his first cousins, Syd Shaw, Kym Kharbough, Raquel Vilts, and Staci White, numerous other cousins, aunts, and uncles, and Melissa's daughters, Lauren and Sierra Tothero. Michael is also survived by the mother of his children, Pamela Shaw, Pamela's son, Shaun Dean, and many, many dear friends and neighbors, including his lifelong friend, Jeff Henke.
Michael's light brightened increasingly throughout his adult life, and he was most luminous and joyful during his final years. Michael was happiest when he was listening to live music and dancing with Melissa, solving engineering problems at every turn, tinkering in his workshop on Fairwood, reveling in his children's many successes, and learning new things every single day. Michael loved spending time on the golf course with dear friends, playing with his dogs, shredding guitar at home and on stage, and watching the latest superhero flick—always front row, center—at the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater.
Memorial services will take place in both Austin and Conroe when it is safe for us to gather. Michael longed for the time after the COVID-19 pandemic and he did everything in his power to pull that day closer to the horizon for himself and for those he loved—hopeful that he, and all world-class huggers like him, would soon be able to embrace their loved ones once again.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 1 to Apr. 2, 2021.