Ross Dale Hopkins, born on May 5, 1926 and a long-term resident of Grundy Center, passed away after a brief illness on October 30, 2020 in his beloved hometown of Wall Lake, Iowa. Life had come full circle.
Born to Roscoe Dale and Charlotte Grace (Clothier) Hopkins, Ross’s grandparents were among the original founders of Wall Lake in 1877. Christopher Hopkins was the town’s first physician, and Ross’s father Roscoe Hopkins had one of the first automobile dealerships in Iowa.
Ross saw many changes in Iowa and the nation during his 94 years of life. In the year of his birth, the United States celebrated its 150th birthday, the transition of silent to sound at the movies, prohibition was the legal mandate, and NBC Radio was formed. The decade also witnessed remarkable social changes and technological innovations. Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart made their first transatlantic flights, the Mount Rushmore sculptures had commenced construction, Mickey and Minnie made their first screen appearances, and the stock market crash resulted in the worst depression in American history. By the time Ross was five years old, the Empire State Building construction was complete, heralding the beginning of large skyscrapers, and the Star-Spangled Banner became the national anthem. The spring of 1940 brought tragedy in the death of Ross’s mother Charlotte and Grandmother Alice Hopkins, less than twenty-four hours apart from the flu epidemic. World War II had started, and it continued throughout Ross’s high school years.
Bringing comfort to Ross and many others in those turbulent years was the music of American jazz and swing. Ross listened to broadcasts on the family radio in their living room and attended many dances and concerts throughout Iowa. Ross frequently spoke about attending a concert performed by Duke Ellington at the University of Iowa when he was a student there. Ross enjoyed jazz throughout his entire life.
Following graduation from Wall Lake High School in 1944, Ross served in the United States Army prior to the Korean War, stationed at the San Francisco Korean Theater Debarkation Center as a pay specialist. Using the GI Bill, he attended Iowa State University and transferred to the University of Iowa where he received his degree in accounting. In 1950, he started his career at the John Deere Engineering Department in Cedar Falls, retiring in 1987.
In 1956 Ross married Jean Mullaley Hopkins of Marion, Iowa, and they started their life and family with Ann, Paul and Beth. Grundy Center became home in 1972, and it was the perfect fit. Ross and Jean attended the sporting events of their children, RAGBRAI, golf, card games, and dining out with family and good friends. They were fortunate to travel, with Ireland being a favorite destination. Ross also enjoyed Manly’s coffee with his friends during the week, breakfast with the guys on Saturdays, and fishing trips to northern waters. Ross and Jean were fortunate to see their family expand, enjoying grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Ross is survived by his children Ann (Allan) Hoffman, Paul (Patty) Hopkins, Beth (Jim) Heeschen, grandchildren Heather (Brent) Schuchmann, Alexis (Cody) Oliver, Alexis Heeschen, Michael Heeschen, Erin Heeschen, great-grandchildren Bailey Marie and Piper Jean Oliver, nephews Dean (the late Jane) Stickrod, Dave (Amy) Stickrod, and Dan (Barb) Stickrod, and special cousin Ray (Jo) Tredway.
Ross is preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Jean Mullaley Hopkins, his parents Roscoe and Charlotte Hopkins, and his beloved sister Marjorie Stickrod.
Memorials in Ross’s name are greatly appreciated and may be sent to Twilight Acres at 600 W 6th Street, Wall Lake Iowa 51466 in order to help other seniors in need
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