Arthur Tipling Sempliner
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1943 - 2020
Tip Sempliner, nèe Arthur Tipling Sempliner, passed away on January 21, 2020, at 76. He was born on October 19, 1943, the eldest of three sons of Arthur W. Sempliner and Elaine Wood Sempliner of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Tip was a noted industrial designer and held more than 35 patents. His projects ranged from vacuum coffee dispensing systems (for which he won the RetailEXPO POPAI Award), to packaging for Clairol, to furniture prototypes for Knoll, to Olympic bobsleds, among many others. A 1984 profile in Popular Mechanics called him a "veritable wizard" of invention. He held a B.S. in industrial design and an M.B.A. in marketing, both from the University of Michigan.

He founded his company Chelsea Design Associates in the late 1970s out of a 19th-century historic barn in Douglaston, NY, which he fully converted to a work and living space-a skill he had established while restoring ruins of Spanish villas in Mallorca in the 1960s. Tip spent the remainder of his life living in Douglaston.

Tip was an adjunct professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he taught production methods in the industrial design department for more than 15 years. His students called him "legendary" for his knowledge of materials, manufacturing, and design. In one of his Pratt projects, he designed a lightweight tandem biodiesel car for a student-faculty team to prototype.

Tip was known for his punning sense of humor, and for many years had served as the political cartoonist for The Bayside Edition of the TimesLedger newspaper, for which he won several awards from the New York Press Association. (

Earlier in his life, he was an avid sailor. He had trained aboard his father's sailboat, the Great Bear, and had skippered his own boat, the Mallard, to a number of racing victories, including the Newsday Cup in the 190-nautical-mile Around Long Island Regatta in 1980. He was Vice Commodore of the Douglaston Yacht Club in 1984, and Commodore for several years following.

Tip will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Diana A. Saunders, his brother Claywood Sempliner, his daughters Winthur Sempliner and Courtney Sempliner (William Monaghan), his stepdaughters Fiona Saunders and Fenella Saunders (David Reed), and his seven grandchildren: Marian, Matilda, and Clara Dewey; Augustus and George Monaghan; and Theodora and Ottoline Reed. His brother John Alexander Sempliner predeceased him.

Services will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan, at a time to be determined. A remembrance celebration hosted by the Pratt Institute is forthcoming.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in New York Times from Jan. 24 to Jan. 25, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
July 25, 2020
He gave me my first job as a jr. Designer at Chelsea. He was the perfect example of what a mentor should be. My he rest in peace.
Mario Accumanno
April 20, 2020
Tip and I were classmates at boarding school, where his delightful wit and positive energy enlivened our days. We didnt see other much during the ensuing years. As sailors we would have had a lot to talk about. I had hoped to attend his memorial service before the health emergency made travel so risky. Godspeed, Tip!
John Rousmaniere
March 31, 2020
Unfortunately I never met Tip but he married a dear school friend of mine from Bristol,England Diana Yeo and they were devoted to each other ....Tip sounds like an incredibly gifted man whom I would have loved to known. Much sympathy to Diana and the family ....RIP Tip
Martin Perrett
February 13, 2020
Incredibly sorry to hear that Tip has passed. He was a phenomenal teacher and designer and an incredible man. Not only did he impress me and my fellow Pratt classmates with his intellect and creativity, but he always pushed us to improve in every design we presented to him. Each of us owe a tremendous debt to Tip, and we all will share our deepest sympathies and condolences with his family and friends.
Gerry Hefferman
January 28, 2020
Sorry to hear of his passing, please accept my condolences
michael stoll, sr.
January 27, 2020
So sorry to hear of Tip's Passing! He was truly one of the most innovative, outside-the-box thinkers and designers I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He was the designer of the amazing Payot-Paris Skin Care Salon then housed in the ITT Building at 50th & Park Avenue in Manhattan and took on the challenge of re-imagining a Paris-style Institute & Spa in an office-centered location opposite the historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Referred to as "Harold's Jewel Box"(Harold Geneen was then CEO of ITT),he styled a unique ambiance and passersby would stop and stare into its rich jewel-toned colors and sleek chrome & glass interior. His solutions to numerous construction challenges is legendary. He will truly be missed. Lynn Ludlam, Former Payot President
Lynn D Ludlam
January 25, 2020
Tip and me at the University of Michigan in 1965.
Heartbreaking news that Tip is gone. Everyone who knew him will miss his brilliant mind and exuberant spirit ended so abruptly. I'm so very sad.
Judy Tipton-Katzman
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