John George Kloepfer, 75, a longtime Central Park resident and member of St. Mark's Parish, died Saturday (Jan. 29, 2000) in Sisters Hospital after a lengthy illness.
Born and raised in Buffalo, Kloepfer graduated from Nichols School and Princeton University. His father, George Joseph Kloepfer, was vice president of Liberty Bank.
He was an Army veteran of World Ear II, a sergeant in the 4th Division and landed on Utah Beach during D-Day's third wave and also fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
In France, when confronted with a language barrier, he managed to communicate with a village priest by speaking Latin, learned during his years as an honor student at Nichols.
After his return to Buffalo, he earned a master's degree from the University of Buffalo School of Social Work. He worked 34 years for the New York State Division of Parole, retiring as a senior parole officer in 1986.
In 1949, he married Mary Isabelle "Miz Cochrane of Buffalo. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last August.
Together they raised four children, and participated fully in the lives of their nine grandchildren.
"Poppy," as he was called, was an active grandfather and was a frequent presence on soccer sidelines and in basketball bleachers, as well as at school plays and award ceremonies.
Kloepfer was interested in English history, chess and genealogy. As a younger man, he dabbled in astronomy and photography.
After he retired, he assembled a family history and was able to trace the Kloepfer line directly back to 18th-century Germany.
Of particular interest to him was the Shakespeare authorship controversy. For many years, he was a member of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, dedicated to advancing Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, as "the man behind the mask."
An avid reader, Kloepfer also was a word-puzzle buff, gardener and gourmet cook renowned for his Thanksgiving stuffing. He was a life member of the U.S. Chess Federation and in 1965 served as president of the University Club. He also was director emeritus of community affairs at Sugarloaf Farm in Port Colborne, Ont.
Kloepfer's strong will and faith served him in fighting several major illnesses: throat cancer in 1978 and heart-bypass surgery in 1992.
He was active as a member of the board of directors of the American Cancer Society and as a three-term president of The New Voice Club of the Niagara Frontier, and edited the organization's newsletter. He also served two terms on the board of directors of the International Association of Laryngectomies. Kloepfer was passionate in his campaign against smoking, often lecturing in area schools.
In 1995 he received an award from the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Erie County, and in 1989 he was named American Cancer Society Volunteer of the Year. He also was recognized in 1986 for his efforts by the Rehabilitation Association of Western New York.
Survivors in addition to his wife include a son, George J. of Buffalo; three daughters, Mary C. of Denver, Linda K. Reilly of Philadelphia and Barbara K. McFadden; a sister, Barbara K. Dooley of Riverside, Calif.; and nine grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Mark's Catholic Church, Amherst Street and Woodward Avenue.