Frank L. Hoppe, 88, a life long resident of Havre, died Jan. 1, 2009, at the Northern Montana Care Center, after suffering a fall earlier in the week.
Cremation has already taken place at the direction of Holland & Bonine Funeral Home. A memorial service will occur later, following a change in the weather and at his request that it be held after his grandson, Ssgt. Nathan L. Hoppe, returns from his second tour of duty in Iraq. Announcements will be made in advance. The place will be the First Lutheran Church in Havre where he was active in the church for over 60 years. Frank was born Dec. 25, 1920, to Karl and Elizabeth (Grabofsky) Hoppe in Havre. He was the second oldest of five brothers and one sister. Frank went though the Havre School System and graduated in 1940. His high school years were spent playing basket ball and footfall, both of which he lettered in his last three years of high school. Also, during these years, he helped in the operation of the family's coal mine just north of Havre. Dad always spoke highly of his father, "Pop," the many things he learned from him, especially a work ethic and a stewardship for the land. Another truism he lived by was: "a man is no better than his word." Dad was an avid sportsman, hunting upland game birds and fishing. He was also a gardener extraordinaire. The products of his fishing and gardening graced the tables in the neighborhood and of the elderly people on Havre's east side. He would fish in any kind of weather and in his younger days, fishing though the ice at Fresno. I still remember the talks we had at those times. I did not know it, but he was implanting the seeds of what I would grow up to be. And like a good listener, there was nothing we could not talk about, whether it was the sermon that day, why people were bad, why were there wars, where did fish and birds come from, and etc. Fishing though, was his greatest passion. I swear that he could catch a trout out of a pothole if it were deep enough. Dad joined the Army in 1942 and served 3 years, 3 months and 13 days. Frank was a Tech 5 in Iran in the Persian Gulf Command. He was in charge of a machine shop that was responsible for keeping the trains running, bringing supplies to the allies on the Russian Front. All the Russian men served on the front, and the women worked in the shop such as his. And he did say, that "those were BIG ladies." His tour with Uncle Sam managed to take him around the world and south of the Equator. Dale and I would sit at his feet listening to his stories of far off places. In 1948, Frank went to work for Max "Burt" Clikeman at Auto Radiator Works. In the fall of that year, he married Marillyn Nelson from Minneapolis, who was out visiting friends. Both ventures proved to be lifelong endeavors, one filled with love and the other with the work ethic. Upon Max's retirement, Frank bought the radiator shop and continued to operate it until his 75th birthday. And, yes, both my brother and I were taught the trade, with Dale sticking with it longer than I, but that was in California, not here. He then sold it and resold it, but it is still in operation today as it has been for the greater part of a century now, at 410 1st St. Dad and Mom were active in the church and raised us two boys (Craig and Dale) to love our God and our fellow man. They served out their many years as greats for the church, until due to health reasons they could not get around any longer. Frank was very active in two local fraternal organizations, the Elks and the Masonic Lodge. He was especially proud of the work the Shriner Hospitals do at no charge for crippled children, enabling them to live active lives. Dad was very civic minded and felt a duty to serve the town he loved. He was elected to two terms as a city councilman in the mid 1970s. Frank and Marillyn found time in their later years to go to October fest and tour Germany, twice to Hawaii, and on one cruise in the Bahamas. They managed to share these trips with their closest friends from here and Minneapolis. Frank was preceded in death by Marillyn, his wife of 59 years; his parents; his brothers, Carl, Robert "Duke," Bill and Walter; ans sister, Helen. He was also preceded in death by a grandson, Bryan. Frank is survived by two sons and their spouses, Craig (Chris) of Missoula, Mont., and Dale (Sandy) of Buena Park, Calif.; three grandchildren, Nathan (Jessica) Hoppe of Tumwater, Wash., Melissa (Hoppe) (Robert Moore) of Polson, Mont., and Laura (Hoppe) (Nate Kittle) of Ohio; six great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. I know that as hard as dad worked all of his life, the Lord helped pull him into heaven, but now that he is there with those who went before him, they are rejoicing his arrival there. Memorials may be sent to The First Lutheran Church; the Shriners Children's Hospitals, P. O. Box 2472, Spokane, WA, 99210-2472; or your favorite charity in Frank Hoppe's name.