She was born Georgeanna White in Nashville, Tenn. in 1909, the same year Mark Twain died. Her father came from a long line of Scottish-Irish pioneers who settled the South from North Carolina to Tennessee, and founded Knoxville, Tenn. Her maternal ancestors introduced the practice of breeding livestock to the northern Texas plains in the 1860s.
Georgeanna attended Ward-Belmont College before graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in art and medical science in 1930. It was there she met her husband of 58 years, JT Lipe, a young medical student. A gifted artist, she worked for Vanderbilt’s Medical School in the Department of Medical Illustration, sketching surgical procedures for medical journals and research papers. The couple moved to Rochester, N.Y., where Dr. Lipe completed his residency training and Georgeanna worked for the University of Rochester School of Medicine supplementing their Depression-era income with her creative illumination of documents for local churches.
In 1936, Dr. Lipe accepted a position in La Jolla and, sight unseen, they moved west. As he started his medical career, Georgeanna focused her energy on raising their three children, as well as becoming active with Scripps Hospital’s Candlelight Ball, Scouts, The Wednesday Club, Meals-on-Wheels and La Jolla Presbyterian Church.
After her children left home, Georgeanna directed her focus back to her art career, transitioning from pen and ink to watercolors and becoming one of Southern California’s finest watercolor artists. She traveled the world attending workshops of noted artists, developing her interpretive style of spontaneity, fresh colors and free-flowing washes. She was quoted as saying, “We live in a beautiful world, so let’s enjoy it in all its depth of color and infinite variety of design.”
She showcased her work in exhibits throughout the U.S., winning acclaim, professional awards and positions with several corporate and private collectors, including the Copley Collection, Union Oil and Hospital Corp. of America. She was a charter member of the San Diego Watercolor Society and the La Jolla Art Association, as well as an active member of Watercolor West and the San Diego Art Institute. At 86, she opened her own gallery on Girard Avenue in La Jolla, providing a forum for local artists.
When asked to describe Georgeanna, friend Patti Keyes said, “She had a smile as quick as her wit and warm as her heart. Her personality was a triple shot of curiosity, creativity and positivity, blended with an adventurous spirit and spunk.”
Mrs. Lipe is survived by her children: Steele Lipe (Patricia) of Haymarket, Va.; Terry Jordan (Jerry) of Julian, Calif.; and Susanna Aalbers (John) of La Jolla; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life and reception is planned for Saturday, April 14 at 3 p.m. at La Jolla Presbyterian Church. All are encouraged to wear watercolor colors. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the San Diego Watercolor Society or La Jolla Presbyterian Church.