Obituary Listings

Jack Kenneth Kopp

February 5, 1930 December 22, 2018
Jack Kenneth Kopp
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Obituary for Jack Kenneth Kopp

Jack­­­­­ Kenneth Kopp, devoted husband, father and grandfather fought as long as he could. He passed peacefully from this life on December 22, 2018 at the age of 88 at home as he always wanted, with his daughter and son-in-law by his side. He was born in Peoria, Illinois to Philip and Hazel (Williams) Kopp on February 5, 1930 and grew up in Neponset, Illinois. After his father died when he was 14, his mother remarried and relocated with his two sisters, leaving Jack to fend for himself. He dropped out of school, lived and worked on a dairy farm, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17. He met the love of his life, Shirley (Berry) Kopp, in the first grade. They married in 1949 and shared 66 wonderful years together. They welcomed their first son Philip in 1950 and lost a baby girl in 1952, after which they packed their car and headed west for a fresh start with $300 in their pocket. Daughter Kristine followed in 1953 and another son Kevin in 1956. They raised their family in Sylmar, California where Jack coached his sons' baseball teams for many years, culminating in a trip to the 1973 American Legion World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. He often worked two jobs to provide for his family. Jack drove every manner of truck, owned and operated gas stations, served as a police officer, sold insurance, and spent 24 years at State Farm as a claims adjuster and supervisor, before retiring in 1992 and moving to Oregon to be near family. He founded the Grants Pass chapter of Habitat for Humanity and served as president for several years, before Jack and Shirley moved back home to Illinois. They might have stayed, but Oregon called again when two more granddaughters joined the family. They attended countless softball, soccer and basketball games, just as they had with their older grandchildren. Jack was a Midwest boy and missed the farm, so he would go back at harvest time to haul in the corn with his nephew, Dennis. They also returned to Neponset every Memorial Day to place flowers at the cemetery and care for the gravesites of family members. Jack and Shirley loved to travel across the country in their RV, especially to Amish country in Indiana. He also volunteered for many years with the RVMC auxiliary, supervising the information desk. Jack and Shirley cared for each other through numerous health challenges. He insisted on bringing her home after she suffered a stroke and nursed her until her passing in 2015.

Jack volunteered to tend the roses at Fountain Plaza, where he met Beverly Schmidt who was another resident there. They married in April 2017 and she provided companionship and loving care in his final months, for which we are very grateful. The family would also like to thank Cyndi Morkunas, who was a capable and compassionate caregiver for­­­­­ both of our parents. Jack is survived by his wife Beverly; his children Philip and Christine Kopp of Carlsbad, CA; Kristine and Jeffrey Bales of Medford, OR; and Kevin and Karen Kopp of Paso Robles, CA; 7 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren; and his sister Jeri Link of Goodyear, AZ. He was predeceased by his wife Shirley, their infant daughter Vickie Lee, his two sisters and their spouses, and Shirley's 13 siblings and their spouses.

Our father's life is a testament to what hard work, perseverance, character, innate intelligence, toughness and a sense of responsibility can do. He was enormously proud of his family and we were so blessed to be his children. Dad was a remarkable man with a great sense of humor, a lifelong Dodgers fan, the Wii golf champion of Fountain Plaza, and a survivor. Many times we thought we had lost him and he fought back again and again. He is now at peace and will be laid to rest with our mother in the Berry family plot in Neponset, Illinois.


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