John Roy Koepke entered his Eternal Rest on March 3, 2023, in Columbus, at the age of 87, after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was born outside Ellinger on April 19, 1935.
He graduated from La Grange High School in 1953, moved to Houston, and served in the Army National Guard for five years. His unit was called up twice, once during Hurricane Carla in 1961, and again during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
John went to work for Gulf Atlantic Warehouse and Gulf Motor Ships until 1984, when he left Houston, retired, and moved to Sheridan.
He never chose to marry and preferred his solitary lifestyle. He loved to fish and garden and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the countryside.
John enjoyed playing the drums, a skill he learned in high school, where he played with the Harmonaires, a popular dance band, in his Junior and Senior years. John also played softball for nearly 40 years, in the position of Pitcher. He started with the Ellinger Cats and continued playing ball while he lived in Houston. They dubbed him “Cool” John Koepke because he could maintain his cool while pitching under pressure.
He moved to Columbus in 1998 and was a resident on Front Street until he moved to Columbus Oaks Assisted Living in September 2019.
He moved to Columbus Oaks Nursing Home in February 2022 and was a resident there until his death.
John enjoyed playing cards and dominoes with a small circle of friends and later enjoyed playing Bingo at Assisted Living. He was also voted Valentine’s King at Assisted Living and was known to love chocolate chip cookies.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Leon and Amanda Koepke; two brothers, Lawrence Koepke, and Jay Koepke; and three sisters, Nita Rau, Bernice Kovar, and Marianne “Petey” Untermeyer. He is also preceded in death by three nephews: Russell Koepke, Roy Rau, and James Untermeyer.
He is survived by two nephews: Mike Untermeyer (Jessica) of Houston; and Tommy Koepke (Barbara) of Spring, Texas; and 6 nieces: Patsy Rau Kleimann (R.C.) of Columbus; Susan Herrington of Montgomery, Texas; Carol Baudoin of Lafayette, Louisiana; Cheryl Heitman (Jay) of Lafayette, Louisiana; Cathy Brennen of Katy; and Nancy Philabaum (Joe) of Fayetteville. He is also survived by a sister-in-law, Joy Koepke of Spring, Texas; and longtime family friend, Lee Anna Tolbirt of Sealy. Numerous great and greatgreat nieces and nephews also survive.
John was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Columbus. He came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior and was faithful in reading his Bible until he lost that ability.
The family is grateful for the assistance of Dr. Klaus and Amedisys Hospice during John’s final months.
A private graveside service will be held at La Grange City Cemetery in La Grange.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.
Online condolences may be given at www.hennekefuneralhome. com.