Shipley was chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank. He led several mergers in the 80s and 90s.
JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon announced Shipley's passing in a letter to employees Saturday.
"On Friday, the world lost a critical force behind what is now JPMorgan Chase and, more importantly, an individual universally regarded with praise for its character, generosity and business perception," Dimon wrote.
Former JP Morgan Chase CEO Bill Harrison, who worked near Shipley, said in a statement that he "had a vision of where the banking sector went," Harrison said. "Walter played an important role in making JPMorgan Chase what it is today."
Shipley's wife for over 55 years, Judith, died in 201
Shipley, son of the Investment Bank Wall Street, was born in New Jersey in 1935
. He began his career in the early 20th century at the New York Trust Company, which was later acquired by Chemical Bank.
Shipley became a senior loan manager and he landed a leading position in 1978 and was appointed chairman and CEO in 1983 at the age of 47.
A death from JP Morgan Chase said Shipley was trying to create "meritocracies" when it came to staffing a company after a concentration, rather than assuming a win-lose attitude that pushed out talented employees from the acquired company.
He retired from Chase in 1999, one year before it acquired JP Morgan.
"Earlier this year, it became clear to me that next-generation leadership at Chase was ready to take over and that my work was done," Shipley said in his pension statement.
During his career, Shipley also served as a board member of Champion International, Exxon Mobil, Verizon and Wyeth.
He was also involved in philanthropy and served as chairman of The Wallace Foundation, a training-focused charity. Shipley was also vice president of the New York Goodwill Industries region.