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River Oaks Golf Course founder Jim Phipps dies

POSTED August 29, 2009 11:42 a.m.
Jim Phipps, the man who founded and owned River Oaks Golf Course in Ceres, was found dead in his Ceres home Tuesday.
A family member found Phipps inside his home near the golf course at approximately 3:30 p.m. and called authorities. There was no cause of death immediately available.
Jimmie Dale Phipps attended Ceres High School where he met his future bride, Carol Marie Romesha. They married on July 27, 1951, and moved to Fremont in 1958, where Jim was in the insurance business. With his wife, he developed a very successful real estate business. Jim’s health prompted the couple to move to an almond ranch in Hickman in 1970. Phipps moved back to Ceres in 1973. Jim started the first Ceres cable TV franchise. In 1979, Jim and Carol developed River Oaks Golf Course in Ceres. Both Jim and Carol ran the businesses with family members.
Phipps helped to start the junior golf program at River Oaks, ultimately introducing the sport of golf to over 8,000 area youth. He also used the golf course to raise tens of thousands of dollars for Community Hospice and for Ceres High School.
Carol Phipps died a year ago on Aug. 31, 2008.
Jim Phipps’ personal life was punctuated with a series of tragedies. He watched three of his sons pass away. Son William H. Phipps died in an airplane crash in Alaska, Douglas A. Phipps died of cancer, and son Robert L. Phipps, a member of the Ceres City Council, died of a heart attack at age 44 on Dec. 2, 2007.
He leaves behind children, Michael D. Phipps of Ceres and Janis M. Phipps of Hughson; grandchildren, Jared Phipps of Australia, Jonathan Carmean and Dustin Phipps, both of Hughson, Kristen Phipps of Hickman, Lindsay Phipps of Modesto, and Amanda Phipps of San Luis Obispo; and two great-grandchildren.

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