The street that First Baptist Church of Deer Park is on will permanently bear the name of Bishop Winfred J. Pippen, the church’s late pastor who had been an advocate in the hamlet since 1988.
The Babylon Town Board voted 5-0 during its Dec. 2 board meeting to rename a portion of Washington Avenue to "Bishop Winfred J. Pippen Memorial Way" for Pippen, who died Oct. 10. He was 76. Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the street renaming is expected to happen in the spring.
Pippen’s widow, Mary C. Pippen, said the announcement was "breathtaking."
"He was extremely inspiring, loved life and lived it," said his wife of 49 years. "He was such a humble man."
Valerie St. Bernard attended the church where Pippen was a pastor. She said that when she started the Deer Park Drug Prevention Coalition in 2018 she told Pippen about it.
"He announced it to the whole church," said St. Bernard, who wrote a letter to the town in October to request the street be renamed. "When he said that, some people did come forward, and that’s what the pastor was about — each one help one."
John R. Caldwell knew Pippen when he became pastor of the church in Deer Park in 1988. Caldwell, a deacon at the church, said Pippen looked out for the community and made frequent trips to Town Hall. He recalled that when Civil Service tests came up, Pippen would pick up job applications from Town Hall and hang them on the church’s bulletin board.
"He wanted to see everybody advancing," Caldwell said.
Tennille Pippen-Taylor, one of his two daughters, said that growing up her parents instilled in them the importance of helping others, be it providing clothes, food or a place to stay for a bit.
"Anybody that needed help they would" do it, said Pippen-Taylor, a hairstylist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Like her father, she said that beyond her regular job she participates in community service, such as feeding homeless people.
Pippen, a native of Bessemer, Alabama, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Alabama A&M University and moved to New York in 1964. He settled in Roslyn and later continued his education at the New York Theological Seminary, where he received a doctorate degree in theology. Pippen married his wife in 1971 and they moved to Freeport. Before joining the Deer Park church, he was an ordained minister of the Greater Second Baptist Church of Freeport under the pastorate of the late Rev. E. Mitchell Mallette.
During his first stint as Babylon Town supervisor in 1993, Schaffer said Pippen invited him to church in the hamlet. He said he believed Pippen could have attained a higher position within the church.
"But he loved doing community work," Schaffer said. "So we felt it was important to recognize him so that there would be a lasting impression and future generations would be able to ask who he was, learn about who he was and hopefully be like he was."
About the bishop
- Born: Sept. 29, 1944
- Education: Graduate of Alabama A&M University and the New York Theological Seminary
- Joined First Baptist Church of Deer Park in 1988