Joseph W. Popper Jr.
June 14, 1932 – June 20, 2020
Joseph W. Popper, Jr., a 4th generation native Maconite, was born on June 14, 1932 and died on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
He graduated from Lanier High School and after graduating from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania spent two years in the Army Counterintelligence Corp in Bad Kannstadt, Germany. After his tour of duty with the Army, he enrolled in the Mercer Law School and served as Associate Editor of the Law Review. He practiced law with his father and later served three years as an Assistant United States Attorney with the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. After leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office, Joe returned to the private practice of law and concurrently served part time for a number of years as United States Magistrate of the Middle District of Georgia. While in private practice he was a Partner with the firms of Popper & Popper and later with Sell, Comer & Popper and several other law firms. He was a member of the Macon Bar Association, the Georgia Bar Association which is now the State Bar of Georgia and the American Bar Association. He was also a member of the Fellows of the American Bar Association.
Joe was a past or present member of the Idle Hour Country Club, Macon Rotary Club, Elks Club, the Satilla River Club, and Temple Beth Israel. He served as pro bono legal counsel for the Macon Little Theater and the Museum of Arts and Sciences for many years.
He had a long-time interest in land conservation. For decades he volunteered during the summer for the State of New York working on the Whitney property in the Adirondacks, during the winter at the Pelican Island Wildlife Preserve in Florida, and on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. Joe served on the Board of the Satilla River Keeper, and he partnered with the State of Georgia to create the Marjorie Kahn Popper Boat Landing, a public park on the upper reaches of the Ocmulgee River in honor of his mother.
Joe enjoyed white water canoeing and successfully traversed the middle fork of the Salmon River in Idaho twice, the Allagash River in Northern Maine, did annual float trips on the Flint, Ocmulgee, Satilla Rivers and kayaked in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Alaska. He also hiked the Chilkoot Trail from Canada to Alaska, a very difficult 33 mile climb from the coast to the Yukon gold fields used by miners in the late 1890s. He was a lifelong runner (before running became popular), and he successfully completed the NYC marathon in 1983 along with numerous other road races including the annual Macon Labor Day race.
He had a lifetime fascination with games of chance and skill including bridge, poker, backgammon, cribbage, snooker, nine ball and golf. He enjoyed international travel, loved dogs and was an avid collector of curious items including antique mustard pots, knives, fountain pens, watches, fly rods and glass paper weights.
Known far and wide as man of great humor and storytelling, Joe’s exploits became legendary with his friends and family including the time he challenged a deputy to an impromptu skeet shoot-off after a traffic stop in rural Georgia. His sparkling personality and good humor generally prevailed and he was fond of exclaiming “I’ve never eaten a bad meal”. While on an alcohol-free Sierra Club trip in Alaska, Joe once legendarily traded a “medicinal bottle” secretly filled with brandy on an isolated beach for a fresh caught native salmon, delighting his soggy, cold kayaking companions with wood grilled fish. He was a master of the win-win negotiation style, an art largely lost in this modern world.
Joe was predeceased by his parents Joseph W. Popper, Sr., Marjorie Kahn Popper, his daughter Marjorie Blanche Popper, and his sister Carrie Popper Becker. He is survived by his children Joseph W. Popper, III (Nicole), Catherine Popper (Noah Eckhouse), and their mother Faye Popper; his grandchildren Jacquline Popper Young (Jay), Michela Eckhouse, Eli Eckhouse, a stepson Zachary Sikes (Tiffany) and a stepdaughter Cristen Sikes Rose (Shaun), a nephew, Simon Becker (Lisa), and nieces Marjorie Becker and Joan Becker. He is also survived by his wife of 27 years Virginia Sowell Popper.
The family will not receive friends at this time, but a celebration of Joe’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers or food the family requests that contributions be made to the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Office of Gift Records, Emory University, 1762 Clifton Rd. NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30322.
Visit www.snowsmacon.com to express tributes. Snow’s Memorial Chapel, Bass Road, has charge of arrangements.
- He is survived by his children Joseph W. Popper, III (Nicole), Catherine Popper (Noah Eckhouse), and their mother Faye Popper; his grandchildren Jacquline Popper Young (Jay), Michela Eckhouse, Eli Eckhouse, a stepson Zachary Sikes (Tiffany) and a stepdaughter Cristen Sikes Rose (Shaun), a nephew, Simon Becker (Lisa), and nieces Marjorie Becker and Joan Becker. He is also survived by his wife of 27 years Virginia Sowell Popper.
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Office of Gift Records 1762 Clifton Road, NE, Suite 1400 , Atlanta, GA 30322
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Joseph W. Popper Jr.
June 25, 2020
Joe was a good friend for approximately 40 solid years. My condolences.
R. Chix Miller
June 25, 2020
Joe had a great sense of humor. He was fond of using the word "mightily." Joe will be mightily missed by a long list of family and friends. My condolences.
Adriane and John Wood
June 22, 2020
We are so very sorry to read of Joe's death. He was a delightful person who always made us happier just by having visited with him for even a short while. Our sincerest condolences to Ginny and all the family.
June 22, 2020
Joe was definitely one of a kind. He was our neighbor at Lake Sinclair. He was a great billiard player, story teller and quite a good photographer. He took us canoeing on the Ocmulgee River, schooling us on navigating the rapids. I enjoyed the time spent with him. He was a great friend to my father and our family. Praying for peace and comfort for his family and friends.
June 22, 2020
Joe was very good to me, encouraging me at the beginnings of the Tubman Museum. I am ever grateful for his kindness and may God bless him and his beloved family. Richard Keil
Sally He nsley
June 20, 2020
Playing backgammon and cribbage with the one and only Joe Popper. Crushed me every time, with a smile and a laugh.