Ruth “Sally” Tippett was a longtime supporter of the arts and health services and was regarded by many as the grand dame of the Del Mar social scene. Mrs. Tippett died on August 15, 1999, at her cliffside Del Mar estate. She grew up in St. Louis, Mo., and studied music in London, Paris, Nashville and New York, where she met her husband, the late William Hall Tippett. Their marriage in the mid-1930s made national headlines. In 1936, they moved to San Diego, where they devoted the rest of their lives to support of the arts. Mr. Tippett died in 1966. They had no children. The Tippetts built their home on 11 acres overlooking the ocean and the Del Mar Racetrack. In 1969, “Tippett Hall,” as the home came to be known, was featured in an architectural magazine.
Horses held a special place in Mrs. Tippett’s life since childhood when her father trained Tennessee walkers, and that is why the Del Mar track was a special place for her. A charter member of the Del Mar Turf Club, she was a fixture at opening day of the track season for decades, and was known for her colorful dresses and hats. A San Diego Union reporter once wrote: “If Mrs. William Hall Tippett didn’t wear a hat to the Del Mar Turf Club on the opening day of the season, the horses wouldn’t run.”
The William and Ruth Tippett Foundation was established in 2000 with funds bequeathed from the estate of Mrs. Tippett.