FORT ATKINSON -- Don Koepke, better known as "Pops," 75, passed away on Monday, May 13, 2019, surrounded by his family at his home. Don found peace after a long battle of pain and suffering.
Don was born to Walter and Clara (Bean) Koepke on Jan. 20, 1944, in Merrill. He was the youngest of seven children. Don graduated from Merrill High School in 1962. He enlisted in the Air Force after graduation and was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, and Italy. After an honorable discharge in 1968 he moved to Watertown. There, he met his wife and best friend of nearly 47 years, Susan Gahlman. They were married in June of 1973 at St. Henry's church in Watertown. In November of 1974 the two moved to Fort Atkinson to start their family of four children, Tony, Pam, Jenny and Chris.
Don was employed at Hevi-Duty out of Watertown for a short time before getting a job at RTE, currently Cooper Power Systems in Waukesha, from where he retired in 2011 after 38 years of service.
Don was a part of the American Legion as well as an active board member of the Fort Atkinson Generals Baseball organization and was known as the "President of the Popcorn Machine." He enjoyed many hours spent at Jones Park grilling for games and car shows. He will always be remembered for his quick-wittedness and sarcasm. If not at a racetrack watching his sons race, a ballpark in the area watching his son or grandchildren play ball, or enjoying an old-fashioned at local restaurants and supper clubs with his family, he would be at home enjoying his Brewers, Packers, Badgers and NASCAR on TV.
Pops is now looking down at the ones he loved which include wife, Susan Koepke; his dogs who he held close to his heart like his own children, Georgia and Lincoln; children, Tony (Debbie Blasing) Koepke, Pam (Rob) Carnes, Jenny (Scott Indermitte) Koepke, Chris (Abby) Koepke; grandchildren, Reese, Kelby and Kinsley Koepke, Jayden and Lance Blasing, Melissa (Neil) Kleemeier, Abigail (Brandon) Pendleton, Aubrey Carnes, Bryce (Brianna) Carnes; great-grandchild, Carson Pendleton; sisters, Hazel Marnholtz, Marcella Young; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Clara; mother-in-law, Mary Gahlman; brothers, Bob and Jim Koepke; and sisters, Elaine Ebbert and Violet Herman.
A celebration of Don's life will take place at Soup's On, 1125 Whitewater Ave., Fort Atkinson, on Friday, May 24, at 4 p.m. with military funeral honors at 5:30 p.m.
A donation may be made in Don's honor to Fort Atkinson Generals Baseball or Paddy's Paws Rescue.
The family would like to give special thanks to Dr. Jeffery McGuire, the staff at UW Cancer Center-Johnson Creek, the staff at UW-Hospital of Madison, Fort HealthCare, Rainbow Hospice and our Generals family.
Nitardy Funeral Home in Fort Atkinson is assisting the family with arrangements.
Nitardy Funeral Home
1008 Madison Ave. Fort Atkinson