JOPLIN - Earl Kenneth "Bud" Poppler, 91, of Joplin, died on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2004.
A funeral service was scheduled for 11 a.m. today at the Bethel Lutheran Church in Joplin. Burial was to follow at the Joplin Cemetery.
Bud was born at St. Paul, Minn., on Oct. 26, 1912, to Benjamin and Ruth (Knutson) Poppler. In 1913, the Popplers came to Montana to homestead 30 miles north of Joplin. Bud attended the Burke School near the farm. He finished his education in Joplin, where he graduated at age 16 as valedictorian of Joplin High School class of 1929. Bud continued his education at St. Olaf College in Minnesota for one semester, then returned to Joplin to help on the family farm. He also fought fires in Glacier Park one summer.
Bud met Myrtle V. Bergan, and they were married March 14, 1934, at Havre. They lived in the old bunkhouse on the Poppler homestead for two years, then Bud went to work for Art LaValley. He drove truck and delivered bulk fuel to the Zortman Mine and other locations throughout north-central Montana. In addition, he bought a little land south of Joplin. In the winter of 1942, Bud contributed to the war effort by working at the Boeing Aircraft Co. in Seattle. About that same time, he took over the International Grain Elevator in Joplin, a business he ran for five years. In 1948, Bud purchased his folks' farm. The Popplers lived in a small place 3 miles north of Joplin until 1952, when they built a home in town. Bud continued to farm until 1965, then sold his place and purchased the H.B. Wolfe Insurance Agency in Joplin. The business became known as Poppler Insurance. In 1970, Bud and his son-in-law, Bob Wehr, became partners when they bought the Aspevig Agency in Rudyard. Bud worked in the insurance business until 1979, when he retired and sold his Joplin office to Greg Graff.
In the 1960s, Bud and Myrtle began spending their winters in the south. For 30 consecutive years, they always drove home to spend Christmas in Montana. As a celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1985, Bud took Myrtle and their two daughters on a tour of Russia, England and the Scandinavian countries. When Myrtle became ill in 1992, Bud devoted his life to her care. He nurtured her at home for four years before she transferred to the Liberty County Nursing Home, where Bud spent time with her daily. Myrtle died on Oct. 22, 2002.
Bud was the first resident at the Wheat Country Estates in 2001. Because of failing health in 2003, he, too, transferred to the Chester rest home.
Bud had been an active community person during his life. He served on the TV board and was instrumental in getting the television tower installed on Mount Royal. Bud was also a member of the Liberty County Hospital Board when it hired Dr. Richard Buker many years ago. In addition, he served as an election judge for many years, as clerk of the Joplin School Board, and on the Liberty County Cemetery Board. Bud also was a director on the board of the Liberty County Bank in Chester, now Wells Fargo.
Bud loved to travel, especially RV traveling. His sporting activities included bowling, golfing, and fishing. He enjoyed working in his vegetable garden and raspberry patch. A lifelong baseball fan, Bud attended many World Series, and collected baseball memorabilia and autographs. His favorite teams were the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners. In his quiet time at home, he liked to read or watch CNN. Bud always kept attuned to the stock market and current events. He was a dedicated father and grandfather who exhibited unconditional love for his entire family.
Bud was preceded in death by his parents; wife; sisters, Lucille Thorson and Sarah, Joyce and Laura Poppler.
Survivors include his daughters, Erkle (Arlo) Howe of Dickinson, N.D., and Linda (Bob) Wehr of Rudyard; five grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; sisters, Blanche Anderson of Rudyard and Lorraine Brickman of Naples, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Arrangements by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.