|Birth Day:||November 20, 1941|
|Death Date:||Feb 2, 1989 (age 47)|
|Birth Place:||Detroit, United States|
Became a national hero after saving Gerald Ford from assassination.
As per our current Database, Oliver Sipple died on Feb 2, 1989 (age 47).
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He was a decorated Marine and a Vietnam War veteran, strolling by San Francisco's Union Square, where Gerald Ford was attending a meeting of the World Economic Council.
Sipple was born in Detroit, Michigan. He served in the United States Marine Corps and fought in Vietnam. Shrapnel wounds suffered in December 1968 caused him to finish out his tour of duty in a Philadelphia veterans' hospital, from which he was released in March 1970. Sipple, who was closeted in his hometown of Detroit, had met Harvey Milk in New York City and had participated in San Francisco's gay pride parades and gay rights demonstrations. Sipple was active in local causes, including the historic political campaigns of openly gay Board of Supervisors candidate Milk. The two were friends and Sipple would also be later described as a "prominent figure" in the gay community who had worked in a gay bar and was active in the Imperial Court System.
He lived with a merchant seaman in a fourth-floor walk-up apartment located in San Francisco's Mission District. He later spent six months in San Francisco's VA hospital, and was frequently readmitted into the hospital in 1975, the year he saved Ford's life.
Sipple was part of a crowd of about 3,000 people who had gathered outside San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel to see President Ford on September 22, 1975. Ford, just emerging from the building, was vulnerable despite heavy security protection. Standing beside Sipple in the crowd was Sara Jane Moore. She was about 40 feet (12 m) away from President Ford when she fired a single shot at him with a revolver, narrowly missing the President. After realizing she had missed, she raised her arm again, and Sipple dove towards her; he grabbed her arm, possibly saving Ford's life. Sipple said at the time, "I saw [her gun] pointed out there and I grabbed for it. ... I lunged and grabbed the woman's arm and the gun went off." The bullet ricocheted and hit John Ludwig, a 42-year-old taxi driver; he survived. The incident came just three weeks after Lynette Fromme's assassination attempt on Ford. Reporters hounded Sipple who at first did not want his name used, nor his location known.
His $334-per-month apartment near San Francisco's Tenderloin District was found with many newspaper clippings of his actions on the fateful September afternoon in 1975, including a framed letter from the White House. A letter addressed to the friends of Oliver Sipple was on display for a short period after his death at the New Belle Saloon:
Sipple's mental and physical health sharply declined over the years. He drank heavily, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, fitted with a pacemaker, and gained weight. The incident brought him so much attention that, later in life, while drinking, he would express regret about grabbing Moore's gun. On February 2, 1989, an acquaintance, Wayne Friday, found Sipple dead in his San Francisco apartment, with a bottle of Jack Daniel's next to him and the television still on. The San Francisco coroner estimated Sipple had been dead for approximately 10 days. He was 47 years old. Sipple's funeral was attended by about 30 people. President Ford and his wife sent a letter of sympathy to his family and friends. He was buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery south of San Francisco.
In a 2001 interview with columnist Deb Price, Ford disputed the claim that Sipple was treated differently because of his sexual orientation, saying,
A September 2017 episode of the radio program Radiolab covered Sipple's act of foiling the assassination of then President Ford. The episode goes into Sipple's act of heroism, his outing by Harvey Milk and Herb Caen and the news media, and the ethics of his outing in spite of his opposition.
Currently, Oliver Sipple is 80 years, 5 months and 29 days old. Oliver Sipple will celebrate 81st birthday on a Sunday 20th of November 2022.
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