|Enterprise 9 Jul 1964 |
William J. Koopman Died Tuesday
Wm. J. Koopman, long-time Blair resident and former business man died Tuesday at Memorial Community Hospital in Blair. He was 86 years of age.
Mr. Koopman was born at Pella, Iowa, April 12, 1878 and as a youth moved to Omaha with his family. He grew to manhood in Omaha.
As a young man he loved the outdoor life and he developed into an athlete of considerable ability.
He became a member of a prize-winning bicycling team, made a name for himself in wrestling and track work, was a member of the National Guard and won honors as a member of a rifle club.
Just before the turn of the century, in 1898 and 1899 he served in the Spanish American war in the Philippines. In this service he was wounded and he received the Purple Heart in recognition of his sacrifice for his country, The wound, in the legs, ended much of his athletic career ad continued to trouble him in varying degrees throughout the remainder of his life.
On October 24, 1901 he was married to Mae McCormick, of Blair, whose father operated a fruit farm of considerable size at the south edge of Blair. Immediately after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Koopman took an active interest in the operation of the fruit farm and built it into a business of considerable size. The farm, comprising of 160 acres, employed as many as 300 persons at peak seasons and fruit of all sorts was shipped to retailers in five states.
The farm was name the “Mount Hope Fruit Farm” and its products spread the name of Blair over a wide area.
The headquarters of the farm was the farm owned by Lucille Poulson at the south edge of Blair and the area south of Wilbur Drive, as well as east of Highway 73 was all orchards and berry fields. A downtown boxing and shipping station was located at 14th and Washington streets where the Texaco station now stands.
Mr. Koopman was instrumental in organizing Post 1251 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars at Blair and he became its first Commander. He took an active interest in veteran’s affairs on a local and state level for many years.
He was a Mason of long standing, having become affiliated with the order as a young man.
He was active in forming Blair’s first Boy Scout troop and the first Scout camp was held on the Courthouse law in Blair and named “Camp Koopman.”
He retired from the operation of the Fruit Farm in 1929. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Koopman operated the Koopman Inn, in a large home just north of the Court House in Blair. They catered to group and club dinners. At the same time, he was local agent for the Omaha World Herald and directed the delivery of the papers through a number of carrier boys.
Mr. and Mrs. Koopman retired to live at the Crowell Memorial Home in west Blair in 1959 and this has been their final home.
He is survived by his wife, Mae, and by three daughters and one son. The daughters are Mrs. Mildred States, of North Platte, Mrs. Louis Murdoch and Mrs. James C. Thompson, of Blair. The son is William Koopman, Jr. of Pittsburgh, Penn. Also surviving are 9 grandchildren and 6 great- grandchildren. Two sisters, Mrs. Daniel Ehlers and Mrs. Ed Vernon, of Omaha, also survive.
Funeral services will be held at the Methodist Church Saturday, July 11 at 2 P.M. The Rev. Dale Westadt will conduct the service and interment will be made in the Blair Cemetery. Graveside services will be conducted by the V.F.W. Pallbearers will be Rod Elson, Jerry States and James States, all of North Plate, Nebr. and John Murdoch, Russell Van Vliet and Harry Van Vliet, of Omaha.
Note He is buried in the Blair Cemetery in Block: 63 Lot: 2 Grave: 10 .
~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~