Kenneth Eugene Koopman
February 10, 1936 – September 26, 2020
On September 26, 2020 Ken Koopman passed away at his home in Mineral, Washington. Ken (Kenneth Eugene Koopman) was born on February 10, 1936 in Rapid City, South Dakota to the late John and Sigred (Clarin) Koopman. Ken was one of six children and spent much of his youth working the family’s homestead, rifle and bow hunting, fishing and panning for gold in the Black Hills. Ken graduated from Rapid City High School in 1954 and in 1955 he joined the U.S. Army where he served with the Combat Engineers and received an honorable discharge in 1961.
Some people work to live but Ken lived to work. His work ethic was unsurpassed and he made many valuable contributions during his time at Champion International and later at Tubafor Mill where he retired in 2004. It was not unusual for Ken to put in a long day at the mill only to come home and find farming and logging equipment parked in his driveway that required his immediate attention. He was a mechanical wizard and a magician with a welding torch. He built and created so many things over the years from woodstoves to wrought iron barstools, spiral staircases and intricately scrolled handrailing. One of his proudest achievements was building and installing the original iron handrailing used at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. He was an artist at heart and when he had time to spare he loved to create unique metal sculptures or knives or miniature deer mounts carved from bone. After almost every snow storm he had to build a snow “creature” in front of the house for all passersby to enjoy because “anyone can build a snowman”.
Ken worked with the Lions Club of Orting for many years and he created several metal props for floats that took home top awards from the Daffodil Festival Parade. After relocating his family from Orting to Mineral around 1978 he joined the Mineral Lake Lions Club. He was a member of the American Legion, Storm King Post 171 and belonged to the Loyal Order of Moose in Morton.
He was a family man that enjoyed the simple things in life and he always put his family first. He was a doting husband and dearly missed his recently departed wife of 62 years (Joan). He will always be remembered for his willingness to help his friends and neighbors, his dry sense of humor, his integrity.
Ken is survived by three children, Heidi (Dan); Mark (Gennine); Anthony; four grandchildren, Brandon (Samantha); Corinna (Julio); Nichole (Joe); Jarod; one great granddaughter, Charlotte; his sister, Caroline; sisters-in-law Florence (Frank) and Charlotte (Ernie); and numerous nieces and nephews that were dear to him. He is preceded in death by his wife; parents; two brothers, Frank and Ernie; and two sisters Hilda and Inez (John).
A celebration of Ken’s life will be held at a later date.