Mr. Tipton, died 6 November 2001, and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Springville, UT

(From Brigham Young University’s “Global Mormonism Project”)

In 1989 Jordan became the first Arab country to conclude a formal agreement with the Church, granting permission to lease property, engage in humanitarian projects, sponsor educational programs, and promote cultural exchanges. This agreement was the result of positive relations between the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, Muhammad Kamal, and Latter-day Saint officials at Brigham Young University and Church headquarters.

At the suggestion of Kamal (who was later appointed to the Jordanian senate by King Hussein) and with his personal intervention, the Church signed an agreement with the Jordanian government to establish the Center for Cultural and Educational Affairs in the capital city, Amman, where the Church leased and renovated a villa (the former Swiss embassy) in the diplomatic district of Jebel Amman to serve as the site for the Center. The First Presidency appointed Vernon Tipton, a retired BYU professor, to be the first director of the Center. Tipton and his wife, Norma, served from January 1989 until their evacuation from Jordan when the Gulf War began in August 1990. The Center was closed upon their departure and remained inoperative until February 1992.

(Courtesy of Brigham Young University – Religious Studies Center, “Voices of War: The Experiences of LDS Servicemen during the D-Day Invasion”, by Dennis A. Wright)

…Vernon Tipton spent the months leading up to D-Day and those that followed in a German prisoner of war camp. During his twenty-fifth mission, his B-24 bomber was shot down over France, two months before D-Day. After parachuting to safety, German soldiers captured him and placed him in Stalag Luft 3 as a prisoner of war. Of this experience he recorded:

Our squadron commander was in the lead bomber and we were second in the formation. Both planes were hit by flak at about the same time. Our plane was on fire and we had to bail out. We were flying at about 22,000 feet, so there’s not very much oxygen. The concussion from the bombs down below and the flak all around us caused a lot of turbulence in the air. I was swinging back and forth, and I passed out as I was coming down in the parachute. This was the second time Id bailed out. Even though I had the former experience at bailing out, I pulled my ripcord too soon, instead of free falling for 10,000 feet; I was in the parachute for most of the 22,000 feet. I was supposed to get out of my parachute before I hit the water, but I didn’t because I passed out. So when I hit the water, I was still in my parachute and it was dragging me under. It was then that the Germans came along in the tugboat and pulled me out with some big grappling hook.