The amazing story of SPX’s newest lunch monitor


Staff photo

Mr. Bob Tipton monitors students in the cafeteria during lunch. Before working at St. Pius X, Mr. Tipton served in the military, drove a bus, and is an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church.

Andy Swartz, Staff Writer

Curious about the new lunch monitor this year who sometimes wear’s a priest’s collar? Although quiet and reserved, Mr. Bob Tipton has an exciting and inspirational life story. 

Mr. Tipton made the move to St. Pius for one specific reason. 

“I wanted a part-time job where I can also work for the church,” he said,

He discovered St. Pius from his son, Daniel, who currently works at the school on the maintenance staff. Before coming to St. Pius, though, Mr. Tipton pursued a number of careers including being a journalist, a deacon, and a bus driver.

Mr. Tipton was once a journalist in the Marine Corps. He joined the Marines in his early 20s, and was stationed in Cherry Point, North Carolina, then moved to help Armed Forces Radio and TV Services in Okinawa, Japan. 

Throughout his 18 months stationed in Okinawa, Mr. Tipton had the opportunity to interview famous actors such as John Wayne, who had come to the Okinawa base to film footage for the movie “The Green Berets,” Raymond Burr, and the rock duo the Every Brothers. 

After a year and a half serving overseas, Mr. Tipton retired from the military and moved to California with his wife. Though Mr. Tipton was a Baptist throughout his childhood, he went to a Catholic church with his wife. One morning as he was walking down the aisle of the church, he said felt a sense that God called him to be a deacon. He recalled the particularly memorable homily the priest gave that day and then hearing the choir perform “Amazing Grace,” both of which blew him away. 

“Those were seeds that God planted, and over time, they grew,” he said.

He pursued this calling by meeting with the pastor of the church who taught him about the faith, and soon after he converted to Catholicism. His interest in pursuing a vocation did not come completely out of the blue, however, as he had always considered being a minister while growing up as a Baptist. Upon his conversion to Catholicism, he was at a crossroads. 

“God, you goofed,” Mr. Tipton remembered saying to himself. “I can’t be a Baptist minister because I’m Catholic, and I can’t be a priest because I’m married.” 

When his diocese was seeking new deacons, he jumped at the opportunity was one of only 20 people selected among 2,000 applicants to complete the years-long journey to becoming ordained.

“I love my vocation of being to be a deacon,” he said. 

Later in life, he also was a bus driver for two Catholic schools, St. Michael’s and St. Patrick. Now working in a high school, he said that he likes the change of scenery from driving middle schoolers to the well-behaved students of St. Pius. He has only had to give out two detentions so far, both for phone usage, but otherwise said the students have been great. He loves St. Pius and appreciates the opportunity to still serve the church in some capacity.