MCAA Masonry Hall-of-Famer Glenn W. Sipe Passes Away

Words: Dan Kamys

MCAA Masonry Hall-of-Famer Glenn W. Sipe Passes

NCMCA's Charter President, Glenn W. Sipe, died Sept. 25 at Catawba Memorial Hospital in Hickory. He was 94. Arrangements are pending at Drum's Funeral Home. Here's a snapshot of Mr. Sipe's contribution and history with the masonry industry, from a 2012 writing:

In January 2012, NCMCA's Charter President, 91-yea??r-old Glenn W. Sipe received not only local and state recognition, but the country's premier masonry contractor's association, the MCAA, also recognized him.

At the Western Carolina Chapter Winter Social, Mr. Sipe and retired masonry contractor Carl E. Moser were awarded "Life Membership" in NCMCA. At that same event, NCMCA President Larry Kirby presented Mr. Sipe with a plaque commemorating the NCMCA Board of Directors' action at their September 2011 meeting naming all past and future NCMCA state presidents as recipients of the "Glenn W. Sipe Presidential Service Award."

On January 26, 2012, at the Mason Contractors Association of America Closing Convention Banquet at the World of Masonry, Mr. Sipe was on hand to be among four men inducted into the new MCAA Masonry Hall of Fame. NCMCA President Larry Kirby, who was among several NCMCA members in attendance at the dinner, including Glenn's son, Steve, introduced Mr. Sipe at the banquet. In his remarks, President Kirby said, "There are many names that come to mind when we consider the success of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association. And on that list there is a disproportional share of names from the Western Carolina Chapter. The Hickory/Morganton area is indeed the birthplace of NCMCA, and in many ways, the birthplace of masonry contractor associations in the southeast.

"I apologize if I accidently leave anyone off the list, but the history of NCMCA cannot be discussed without mentioning Western Carolina Chapter members like Ivey and Alan Griffin, Carl Moser, Ranson Miller, Howard Rowe, Jerry Eckard, Tom Blizzard, Gus Palmer, Ken Sipe, Walt Duncan and others. This evening, we recognize one in particular. And I am especially proud he, also, is one of our own here in the Western Carolina Chapter.

"He is from a farm family here in Catawba County where he has lived his entire life. As a young man in 1938 and 1939, he worked in a CC camp. He went to work for Herman-Sipe Construction Company about August 1939, who offered him a job helping as a laborer for $0.25 an hour. Later he was promoted to the concrete gang, mixing and placing concrete by hand. He asked to be trained as a brick mason, because they made as much as $0.70 per hour. The next summer he started his masonry training. He was a regular mason by the end of 1940, and was in charge of a masonry crew by mid-1941. 

"In 1954, after being the masonry superintendent for Hickory Construction Company, he took on his first masonry contracting job doing a unit-priced project in Asheville. He continued to do unit-price masonry work with his own crew through the fifties and early sixties. He incorporated 'Glenn W. Sipe & Sons' in 1966. Mr. Sipe retired from the business in 1987 at age 67, leaving it for his sons, Ken and Steve, to manage. And it is a sad thing that Ken and Connie are not here tonight on this special occasion. 

"Glenn W. Sipe & Sons was one of the first companies in the south to use mechanical scaffolding (Hoist-o-Matic) and to do masonry work with lump-sum, turn-key masonry contracting. The firm continued to be one of the most innovative and progressive masonry contracting firms in the southeast through the late sixties, seventies and early eighties.

"Regarding trade associations, he always said, 'An educated competitor was a good friend, not an enemy.' Helping each other was important to everyone's success. He was instrumental in forming the Western Carolina Masonry Contractors Association about 1968, which later became the Western Carolina Chapter of the Mason Contractors Association of America. The Western Carolina Chapter was among the first non-union chapters of MCAA and Mr. Sipe worked hard to gain acceptance for the group from his union counter-parts. Mr. Sipe has served several terms as president of the Western Carolina Chapter.

"He was a regular participant at MCAA conventions and trade shows through the years and credits much of his firm's innovation to ideas he brought home from those meetings.

"Glenn and others from the Western Carolina Chapter traveled all around North Carolina in the early seventies to encourage other groups to meet and establish local chapters. In April 1974, the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association was chartered and Glenn W. Sipe was elected as the new association??s first president.

"Later, Mr. Sipe was instrumental in forming the Carolina Masonry Council, a promotional group that included material providers, masonry contractors, and equipment suppliers active in North and South Carolina. He later served as president of the Carolina Masonry Council.

"The State Association recognizes Glenn W. Sipe's contribution to the masonry industry in the Carolinas and for his service as the very first president of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association. In addition to Mr. Sipe, the inductees included the late C. DeWitt Brown of Texas, Richard Felice of Iowa, and Jerry Painter of Florida. A bronze plaque featuring a likeness of each inductee will be permanently displayed at the MCAA office in Chicago."

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