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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Don Hoppe

A Celebration of Life Service for Don Hoppe, age 81, of Windom, will be held Saturday, November 25th at 2:00 PM at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Windom, with Father Pratap celebrating. Burial will be at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery in Windom with full military honors by American Legion Post #206 of Windom.

A time of visitation and gathering will be held prior to the service on Saturday, November 25th from 12:00 – 2:00 PM at the church in Windom.

Don Hoppe was born July 2, 1942, at home in Dale Township, Cottonwood County, 7 miles NW of Windom. The second of three children to the late Erwin Hoppe & Minna (Nagorske) Hoppe. Growing up without the modern luxuries of indoor plumbing or electricity, he attended Windom schools, class of 1960.

He served in the Army National Guard from 1960-’64 and Army Reserve from 1960-’68. In the 1960’s he worked for Bolin Lumber, Scott Lumber in Sioux Falls, and drove school buses for Windom Schools. As a bus driver, he met his love, Jean (Haberman) Hoppe. They were married July 16, 1966, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church of Windom. Don was later confirmed at the church in 1970.

Don began work for a family he respected in 1966 at Caldwell Packing (PM Beef), retiring in 2011. While supporting his family he also operated the tow truck for Carter’s Texaco, utilizing his mechanical skills. Probably out of necessity from his youth, he had many self-taught skills to repair or improvise. Fashioning a home-made hog roaster, he often fed hundreds at various gatherings.

He combined his aptitude for self-teaching and desire to travel by purchasing an old greyhound bus. For an entire year, he spent weekends transforming that old bus into an RV camper. For over a decade, time off was spent traveling with the MN Pioneers camping club. Including family trips to the Black Hills, Yellowstone, MI, WI, IA and throughout the Midwest. Later in life he enjoyed vacations to CA, Boston, Hawaii, and Germany to reunite with relatives he had not seen in more than 30 years.

He was a member of the American Legion honor guard, Knights of Columbus, Chamber of Commerce white hatters, Lions Club and Jaycees. While volunteering, he was proud to help build the first Cottonwood Lake picnic shelter and Santa’s workshop, visited by many children every season on the town square. By far, his most treasured volunteer commitment was the Windom Fire Dept. He proudly served from 1968-1997, known for dedication in maintaining the trucks.

Don endured many health obstacles throughout his life. Beginning with major back surgeries in the 1970’s. While recovering from the last surgery he earned his GED in 1978. He survived over 22 surgeries, and dealt with carpal tunnel, arthritis, COPD, and multiple cancers, most notably lung cancer. Even as his physical health declined, he enjoyed time with his extended family. He loved his family and was very proud of his children’s accomplishments. He loved spending time with grandchildren and great grandchildren. Grandpa could fix anything!

Don is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jean (Haberman) Hoppe; sons, Bryon (Rita) Hoppe of Windom, and Brent (Emily) Hoppe of Edina; grandchildren, Christopher (Lacie) Hoppe of Windom, Blaine (Jerry) Hoppe of Winona, Vivian and Evelyn Hoppe of Edina; great grandchildren, Marcus, Seth, Corbin, and John Hoppe of Windom; sister, Judy (Mike) Bochman of Waseca; sister-in-law, Barb Hoppe of Silver Lake, MN; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, with whom he shared a special bond.

Don was preceded in death by his parents; and brother Carl Hoppe (1990).

Donations are preferred to the Windom Fire Department for the upkeep of the 1923 LaFrance which was the first automated vehicle for the department. Through his efforts, Don was instrumental in getting the truck back to the department.

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