Obituary for Robert L. Koepcke Sr.

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Robert (Bob) Koepcke died peacefully on Thursday, September 26 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King. He was born in north LaCrosse on May 1, 1922 to parents George and Alma as one of five siblings. Bob enjoyed a happy childhood at home, school and church, enjoying time as a Sea Scout and working summers at his uncle's farm.
Bob graduated from Logan High School, starting college at LaCrosse and Madison before the beginning of World War II. Bob was accepted into cadet and officer training with the Army Air Corps to achieve the rank of Captain as a navigator/bombardier and flight instructor. Bob married Marian Arlene Waldorf in 1944 before serving in Japan near the end of the war. Among his published memories are witnessing the explosion of two atomic bombs, helping organize an air base in Okinawa and guiding many cargo flights between the Philippines and Japan. Bob was deeply moved by the war's devastation to later tell his son, "There's no glory in war. Everybody loses."
Always a man of peace, Bob was proud of his service and grateful for the support he received from the Veterans' Administration, both at home and after a stroke he suffered in March. Despite the stroke, Bob's memory stayed sharp with a positive attitude. He "always chose happy" each day he awoke. Although he valued his family and grieved the death of his wife Marian, Bob made it a point to welcome new friends. He was often fond of saying, "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet!"
Bob offered this and other bits of wisdom in his many self-publications with over one thousand poems and fifty pieces of "Conversation Art" developed with area artists. These are still available at the Veterans Home in King and from his son Robert Jr. of Watertown. Bob is otherwise survived by his sister Elaine of Carson City plus many nephews and nieces of all ages throughout the country.
A family memorial service will be held on Tuesday, October 29 at the Oak Grove Cemetery in La Crosse. Memorials may be sent to Robert Jr. at 430 South Concord Avenue, Unit D, Watertown WI 53094.