Roger W. Schipke, Raced Grade I Winner Ops Smile, Passes Away

Sarah Andrew

Roger W. Schipke, who campaigned 1997 GI Manhattan H. winner Ops Smile (Caveat) in partnership, passed away peacefully on Apr. 27 in the presence of his family. He was 87 years old.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Schipke was offered a minor league baseball contract after his high school graduation, but declined and went on to earn his undergraduate degree from Washington University, an MBA from New York University and an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Spalding University. He served for a time as a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky and as executive in Residence at the University of Louisville.

After serving as a US Navy Officer, Schipke began a 28-year career with General Electric, retiring as Senior Vice President and CEO of Worldwide Appliances. Recruited by Sunbeam Corporation in 1993 as CEO and Chairman, he was also a 25-year director of Legg Mason and Brunswick Corporation. He served on international boards in Canada, England and the Philippines.

Schipke committed himself to social and public service, sitting on the board of the Federal Reserve Board of St. Louis, the Greater Baltimore Development Board, the Louisville Fund for the arts, the Kentucky Racing Commission and was president of the Maryland Million Ltd.

It was a Maryland-bred roan that gave Schipke and partners their finest hour as Thoroughbred owners. Ryehill Farm-bred Ops Smile blossomed into one of the Midlantic region's top turf horses at five in 1997, winning that year's GII Dixie S. on the Preakness undercard before causing a 21-1 upset over Flag Down in the Manhattan one race before Touch Gold denied Silver Charm the Triple Crown in the GI Belmont S. Schipke was a client of Hermitage Farm in Kentucky and of the Boniface family's Bonita Farm in Maryland.

According to an online obituary, Schipke's love for horses was matched by his devotion to and affection for dogs.

Roger Schipke was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Jacquelyn Boyden Schipke, who was also among the Ops Smile owners. He is survived by his wife, Joyce Stone Schipke, two children, three stepchildren and 10 grandchildren.

Schipke was laid to rest at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville May 7.

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