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Organist Dies Suddenly at Public Library

100 years ago on Saturday September 18th, 1915, well-known Londoner, Dr. George Buckley Sippi died on the steps of the public library seven minutes after suffering an attack of apoplexy at 3:30 pm while awaiting his turn at the exchange wicket (circulation desk?) in the library.  His funeral took place from his late residence, 372 Maitland Street at 3 pm on Monday September 20th with Rev. R.W. Norwood, rector of Cronyn Memorial Church officiating.  He was buried in Woodland Cemetery.  George was born on March 10th, 1847 in Rajkoot, Bombay , India, the son of well-known bandmaster, Charles Augustus Sippi.  In 1854, his family moved from India to Ireland where his Italian grandfather had settled.  George attended Queen's College in Cork which was affiliated with the Royal University of Ireland.  He studied organ and piano under his uncle, John A. Sippi, organist of Lismore Cathedral.  In 1870, he followed his older brother, Charles Augustus Sippi to London, Canada as a professor of music at Hellmuth College where he remained for six years.  He became the choirmaster and organist for St. Paul's Cathedral in 1876 and remained there for 37 years until his resignation in 1913. At the cathedral he had assembled a collection of about 350 volumes of choral music which, with his private library of musical literature, was donated in 1920 to Western University of London, Ontario.  George's last public appearance was his attendance at the Jane Tuttle recital where he played the British national anthem after the Austrian and German musicians refused to play it.  

Besides being an organist, George was also a composer having written at least two musical pieces - "Canadian Forever", c 1915 and "The Oddfellows Galop."


Sources:     Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.  second edition.  1992, p. 1224.  

"Dies Suddenly in Library Building,"  London Advertiser.  September 20, 1915, p. 12. 

"Late Dr. Sippi Saved Situation,"  London Free Press.  September 20, 1915, p. 2.

" Dr. George B. Sippi Dies Suddenly at Public Library,"   London Free Press.  September 20, 1915, p. 12.