Two Lives, Two Loves: A generous gift for the love of West Point
"Always a generous man, he wanted to give. I have tried to continue that tradition, because I, too, love West Point," said Margaret Ann Zipp, who married Charles W. Zipp in the Cadet Chapel just hours after his 1953 graduation from West Point.
West Point and its Class of 1953 have been so central to the lives of the late Lt. Col. Zipp and his wife Margaret Ann. But it didn't start out that way. When Charles and Margaret Ann met while attending college in Texas in 1947, they knew very little about the Academy. It was Charles' company commander in the National Guard who introduced West Point to the couple, and two years later, Charles entered as a member of the Class of 1953. Margaret Ann and Charles saw each other only on leave until 1951 when Margaret Ann completed her degree in English from the then Texas State College for Women and moved to New York City to be closer to him. "What a time those two years were. I went up the Hudson on the Mohawk bus every weekend. Of course, I got to know many, many members of the Class of 1953 and their OAOs, and all of Company K-2. They were my family," Margaret Ann said.
Through the years, the Zipps supported class projects as well as the Academy through their philanthropy. As an officer, Charles served 23 years, nine of them in Nuremberg, Germany, during three separate tours—his last tour as executive officer of the 2nd Armored Cavalry, and two more years in Schweinfurt, Germany, as commanding officer of the 371 Armored Infantry Battalion. From 1964 to 1967, Zipp taught military science at Texas A&M University—the school he originally had planned to attend—before serving as executive officer to Gen. Frank Linnell in Vietnam. He also served a tour in the Pentagon. After retiring, he earned a master of urban planning from Texas A&M in 1977. He was an active civic leader in Bryan-College Station, Texas, for many years.
"When Charles died in 2004, he left our sons comfortably fixed, so I decided to leave a major portion of my estate to the two things that meant so much to the both of us: St. Thomas Episcopal Church in College Station and the United States Military Academy." Margaret Ann's generous bequest will be directed to the Superintendent's Unrestricted Endowment. Gifts to this endowment help bridge the crucial gap between what the government provides and what it takes to make the 47-month experience at the Academy truly excellent. Private unrestricted gifts provide the greatest flexibility to support the Margin of Excellence at West Point.
"Charles was more interested in military science than in any particular academic field, so I have chosen to support an endowment that allows funding to reach every aspect of a cadet's education and training at the Academy," said Margaret Ann.
"Now, Charles rests there at West Point in the Post Cemetery, where I will be joining him, before too many years, I imagine, and be buried with him."
Learn more about supporting the Superintendent's Endowment.