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Obituaries » Eldon A Ropp
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March 27, 1937 - April 15, 2018
Eldon Amos Ropp, husband of Doreen Esther (Ramer) Ropp, went to be with the Lord Sunday morning April 15, 2018, while sitting in his church pew.
Eldon was born March 27, 1937 in Albany, Oregon, the first child of Sam and Verda Ropp. Eldon spent his early years in Albany attending school and being a faithful member and active participant in Fairview Mennonite Church. He was a young man of many interests and talents. He worked on his Dad’s farm, driving tractor and looking after the animals (his dad raised mink), as well as his own assortment of pets (a ferret, a crow, and puppies). He also had a passion for music, teaching himself at a young age how to read music and sing harmonies. As he grew he became involved in leading music in the church, at one point even singing in The Gospel Messengers, a quartet that had a regular spot on the local radio station. Eldon loved fast pitch softball, as well, and became quite an accomplished pitcher in the competitive church league in the Albany area.
For his Junior and Senior years, Eldon attended Western Mennonite High School where he sang in the choir, was editor of the yearbook, and was a member of the school’s elite travelling choir. It was while on tour with this group up in Duchess, Alberta that Eldon first met his future wife, Doreen Esther Ramer. Three years later when Doreen went to Western Mennonite school, they had their first date, and after a two-year courtship were married on August 14, 1960.
Never one to follow the crowd, shortly after their wedding Eldon began attending college in pursuit of his Registered Nursing degree. Not only was he the first from his family to enter higher education, he was one of only two men in his nursing class of over 20 students. While still in school, Eldon’s first child, Starla Mae, was born, and two years later his son, Leon Eldon, arrived. Eldon graduated in 1965 with his RN degree, and soon moved his family from Washington state to Duchess, Alberta (Doreen’s hometown) where he worked as a nurse in the Brooks hospital during the winter and as a farmer with his in-laws, the Ramers, in the summer. In 1968 their third child, Joseph Lee, was born.
Shortly after Joseph’s birth, Eldon and Doreen packed the family up again and made the trip back to Oregon, intending to purchase the family farm. They stayed in Oregon only a couple years, however, as Eldon’s younger brother Maynard–who was going to partner with Eldon in this venture–was tragically killed in a helicopter accident. This event was devastating to Eldon, and in 1972 he returned to Duchess with his young family, this time to stay.
Eldon and Doreen settled on a small acreage just south of Duchess. Eldon farmed for a while again with his in-laws, but his entrepreneurial nature and love for animals got the best of him. He soon opened a small hobby and pet shop in the basement of their house, naming this venture Ropp’s Pet & Hobby, Ltd. The shop quickly grew, moving from basement, to garage, to a building built specially for the retail store and raising budgies, to finally Cassils Centre Mall in Brooks in 1979. Ropp’s Pet & Hobby was a fixture in the community for over 25 years. During this busy time, Eldon and Doreen’s fourth and final child, Stephen Len, was born. Eldon was also active in his church community, including teaching an after-school Bible club for kids called the “Good News Club” with Doreen and as Song Leader in the Duchess Mennonite Church. Life was always busy and rarely boring with Eldon, who was never afraid of starting a new business venture. In addition to Ropp’s Pet & Hobby, he raised Collies, Pekingese, ferrets, rabbits, budgies, and lovebirds. In the early 1980’s, Eldon and his sons began a market garden on his acreage, specializing in cucumbers and zucchini. A tree farm was another one of his ventures, making his and Doreen’s acreage even more beautiful. About ten years ago, Eldon and Doreen joined forces with their youngest son Stephen and his wife Anna in the opening of a boarding kennel for dogs, which kept Eldon active in his later years.
Eldon was a loving husband and father, and always enjoyed his family, whether singing together or engaging in spirited discussions. However, in 1989 and again in 1994, Eldon suffered a series of strokes that, while leaving him physically strong, rendered him unable to engage as actively in his business pursuits, as well as some other interests. While continuously dealing with the effects of his strokes, Eldon continued to be an integral part of his family as a loving and supportive husband, father and grandfather. Though his ability to socialize was diminished, he maintained his good nature and was always open to those he encountered.
Eldon spent the last few years of his life being a loving companion to his wife, a calm and helpful presence for his children, and a watchful, stable, safe place for his many grandchildren. Eldon was a man of deep faith and convictions, which he faithfully and conscientiously lived out in his many pursuits in life. He often expressed a hopeful curiosity about what the next life with his Lord and Saviour will be like. His curiosity is now satisfied.
Eldon is survived by his wife Doreen; sons Leon (Deneen), Joseph (Ranene), Stephen (Anna); son-in-law Patrick; thirteen grandchildren: Rachael (Greg), Evan (Amber), Caleb (Jelaine), Hannah, Reagan, Aaron, Josiah, Noelle, Mercy, James, Christina, and twins Luke & Jeremiah; and two great-grandchildren, Wesley and Rylah. Eldon is predeceased by his parents, Sam and Verda Ropp, his brother Maynard, and his daughter Starla.
Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at Duchess Mennonite Church. In memory of Eldon, if family or friends desire, memorial tributes may be made to Duchess Mennonite Church Compassion Fund.