Joe grew up in Stuart, Va. Though he lost his father in World War II, the native of Patrick County had many positive influences during his youth. His mother, the local postmaster, was the guiding force of the family. It was in grade school in Stuart where he met his future wife, Pat. By high school they started dating, and they were married for 59 years.
Joe graduated from Virginia Tech, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and served on the regimental staff his final year. After graduation, Joe served three years as a lieutenant in the Strategic Air Command of the United States Air Force.
After service, Joe joined American Electric Power where he would spend a 40-year career in engineering, finance, and various management positions, including serving as the president of Appalachian Power and ultimately retiring as its executive vice president of American Electric Power Shared Services. During his tenure at AEP, he was sent to the MIT Sloan Fellows program to complete his masters at the Sloan School of Management.
Joe received many accolades honoring his numerous achievements over his life, including AEP donating a $1 million gift to Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science in his name. He was also inducted into the Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering’s Academy of Engineering Excellence, and the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center is named in his honor.
Upon his retirement, Joe and his wife Pat moved to Smith Mountain Lake where they remained active in the local community until their recent move to Brandon Oaks in Roanoke. Joe enjoyed traveling the world with Pat — visiting all seven continents, and regularly adding to his hat collection built from additions from their numerous trips. He was an avid gardener and enthusiastic supporter of the Hokies.
Joe attended Trinity Ecumenical Parish where he served as a Presbyterian Elder. He was deeply devoted to his church, where he used his incomparable gifts to ensure that “stewardship” was holistic and that the gifts of God were used to further the kingdom of God.
Joe is survived by his wife, Pat Vipperman residing at Brandon Oaks in Roanoke; his son, Robert Vipperman and his wife, Julie Beth, of Hickory, N.C. and Roanoke; and his daughter, Jody Saarmaa and her husband, Erik, of Boston. Joe was predeceased by his brother, Archie Vipperman.
A memorial service will be planned later this year.
Arrangements entrusted to Oakey’s Funeral Service – South Chapel, Roanoke, Va., (540) 989-3131. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.oakeys.com.