Obituary Record

Herman Kopke
Died on 4/7/2004


Pilot Tribune 13 April 2004

Kopke was oldest man in Nebraska

Blair resident dies at age 108 (by Melissa Rice Assistant Editor)

Herman Kopke of Blair, acknowledged as Nebraska’s oldest living man, died Wednesday, April 7.

Kopke, who would have turned 109 on May 5, was born in Fahren, Germany, the same year that Stephen Crane’s novel, The Red Badge of Courage was published. X-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen and Rudolf Diesel invented a now famous engine.

According to the Nebraska Health Care Association, which now maintains a roster of Nebraskans ages 107 or older, Kopke was the second oldest Nebraskan.

Retired Grand Island school teacher an amateur historian E.A. Kral of Wilber, who has helped compile the roster of the state’s centenarians, said Kopke ranks 34th among the oldest Nebraskans to have lived.

“We’ve had 14 men in the history of the state who have lived to be 107 or older,” Kral said. “He was the oldest living many in the state and was the second oldest resident.” Helen Stetter, who lives in Cherry County, remains the state’s oldest resident at 110. Kopke would rank fourth among the state’s longest-lived men.

Kopke moved to America when he was 17 to work on his uncle’s farm. He worked as a farm laborer for both his uncle and other farmers in the Bennington area before taking a job in 1923 at the Armour Packing House in South Omaha. Kopke often recalled his days at the packing plant to family and friends.

KOPKE: ‘A pleasant, smiling guy’

Linda Koster, RN, director of nursing at Good Shepherd Lutheran Home, where Kopke lived since 2000, said he often regaled staff members with stories form his younger days.

“He was a favorite in our nursing home,” Koster said. “He was always a pleasant, smiling guy. He liked to hand around the ‘girls’. He used to come into my office almost every day.” Koster noted that Kopke was extremely close to his family, which included his son-in-law and wife, LaVerne and Donna Lamprecht of Fremont, and a granddaughter and her family. Kopke’s wife and daughter both preceded him in death.

Kopke worked at the packing plant until 1946, when he began farming again at the age of 51. After his wife, Ella, died in 1948, his daughter married LaVerne Lamprecht, and Kopke and his son-in-law farmed together for 12 years.

In 1956, they bought farmland on 164th and Giles Road, in Sarpy County. Kopke remained active in farming until the 1980s.

Kopke lived with his daughter and son-in-law until 1990; after the death of his daughter, Kopke moved in with his granddaughter and her husband, Kathy and Jim Keller. Koster said Kopke was “very close” to his granddaughter and would “light up” at any mention of her name.

Kopke moved to Good Shepherd Home in 2000, where he enjoyed playing cards, watching television and reading the newspaper.

“He was very close to one of his roommates,” recalled Koster. “They would stay up late at night and visit.” Koster said she would often walk by their room after staff meetings to see the two retired farmers sitting together and reminiscing.

“They reminded me of that poster of the two little kids in overalls, ‘Been Farmin’ Long?,” Koster laughed. “I always thought we needed to take a picture, because that’s what they reminded me of.”

Kopke, who had danced the polka with his granddaughter at his 100th birthday, and who, at 105, said he only needed his glasses for reading, leaves behind many memories for those who knew him.

Koster said he may have visited her office daily because she reminded Kopke of a long-ago dance partner. She kept a supply of breakfast bars on hand to give him as a treat.

“He’s going to leave an awful big gap in my heart,” Koster said.

Pilot Tribune 13 Apr 2004

Herman Kopke, 108

Herman Kopke, 108, of Blair, died Wednesday, April 7, 2004, in Blair.

Funeral services were Saturday, April 10, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Elkhorn. Interment was in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Elkhorn.

Herman Kopke was born May 5, 1895, in Fahren, Germany. In 1912, he came to America to work on his uncle’s farm near Bennington, and later worked for many farmers in the area.

On Sept. 24, 1924, he married Ella Schmidt of Fort Calhoun. The couple lived on 46th and M in Omaha, where their daughter, Lois, was born.

Mr. Kolpke worked at the Armour Packing House from 1923 until 1946. The couple moved to 156th and Pacific. In January of 1948, his wife died. In December of 1948, his daughter married LaVerne Lamprecht. Together, Mr. Kopke and his son-in-law farmed at the location for 12 years. In 1956, they bought a farm on 164th and Giles Road. Mr. Kopke lived with his daughter and son-in-law until 1990, when his daughter died. His son-in-law remarried in March of 1992, and later that year, Mr. Kopke moved in with his granddaughter and her husband, Jim and Kathy Keller.

In 2000, Mr. Kopke moved into the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home in Blair.

Mr. Kopke enjoyed playing a good game of “Shupscup” with his friends and family. In his younger years, he worked hard at farming and milking cows. He had fond memories of working at Armour, shipping the meat all over the world. He was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Millard.

Reading the newspaper and watching TV kept him busy from the age of 100 until 105. He had a good time celebrating his 100th birthday with many friends and family. Up until the age of 106, he enjoyed cards and good food with special people.

At the time of his death, Mr. Kopke was acknowledged to be the oldest living man in the state of Nebraska.

In addition to his wife and his daughter, he was preceded in death by a grandson, Gary Lamprecht.

He is survived by his son-in-law and LaVerne and Donna Lamprecht; granddaughter and husband, Kath and Jim Keller; two great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Memorials are suggested to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church or the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home.

Omaha World Herald 9 Apr 2004

KOPKE – Herman, age 108 yrs., Blair, NE formerly of Millard. Passed away April 7, 2004. Preceded in death by wife, Ella; daughter, Lois; grandson, Gary Lamprecht. Survived by son-in-law, LaVerne Lamprecht and his wife Donna, Fremont; granddaughter Kathy Keller and her husband Jim, Manilla, IA; great-grandchildren, Jeffrey and Amy Keller, Kimberly and Charles Cymbor; great-great-grandchildren, Colby and Connor Keller. VISITATION Fri. Noon-9 pm with family receiving friends 6-8 pm at the Funeral Home. FUNERAL Sat. 1 pm, Bethany Lutheran Church, Elkhorn. Interment Prospect Hill. Memorials to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church or Good Shepherd Home.

REICHMUTH FUNERAL HOME 21901 West Maple 289-2222

~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~

Printed in the Washington County Pilot-Tribune on 4/13/2004