FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Credited with helping children on the brink of prison, life-long drug addiction and poverty – Ed Shipman, 83, has died.READ MORE: Judge Begins Key Hearing On Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Plan
A long-standing philanthropist, Shipman gave children structure, education and love by founding the North Texas Central Academy on a farm south of Granbury in 1975. He started the school with 20 students in a mobile home. Then in 1977, an old house was moved to the property, refurbished and constructed into a new home for the school.
Shipman, a resident of Glen Rose, just outside of Fort Worth, raised millions throughout the more than four decades Happy Hill Academy — now North Central Texas Christian Academy – has flourished.
The school doesn’t accept any government funding and relies completely on private donations. The former haven for poor and at-risk kids is now an international boarding school for motivated, economically disadvantaged students. Boys and girls (ages six to 18) live on the campus year-round. Some students attend the private Academy by day. Fees and tuition from the families account for a very small percent of the Academy’s annual budget.
Beloved by students, teachers and academy staff, Shipman wanted his students to have exposure to all the amenities offered by schools that receive State or Federal funding.READ MORE: Texas Man Gregory Gabrisch Dies In Hunting Accident In Southwest Colorado
The academy has an athletic center, dining center, fine arts center, home-like residences for boarding students, staff housing, an 18,000 square foot agricultural center with a show ring, livestock pens, stables and riding trails, athletic fields, swimming pool, tennis courts, a welcome center, an inn and training center and an administrative center.
As a working farm, Happy Hill Farm raises much of its own beef, lamb and pork. There is a professional equine program and even a petting zoo. The Academy has a very large and active FFA, 4-H, and horticulture program. Some of the students care daily for the livestock. Grain and hay crops are grown for the animals; gardens are planted and tended.
Shipman’s legacy situated on the 500-acre campus of Happy Hill Farm is one of the top fully-accredited private boarding and day schools in the country.
He is survived by his loving wife Gloria and two sons, Chuck and Todd.
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