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. (https://bit.ly/2TR1C2J)
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.
Published in New York Times from Jan. 24 to Jan. 25, 2020.