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We’ve Never Known A Better Man

Words for Will Hoppe at his Celebration of Life
from Bill and Sally Altman
29 May 2014

To those who knew you Will,
You were a MAN among men;
To us you were more –
Our cousin, our friend.

This message derives,
Right from our heart;
We really liked Will –
Right from the start.

And what we learned
With ensuing time;
He was a quality guy,
And truly sublime.

We’ve never known a better man…

A lot of kindness, without any demands,
A lot of giving, with wide-open hands;
A lot more smiles, with rarely a frown,
And never any kickin’ a man who was down.

A lot more WE, a lot less I,
A lot more laughs, without any cry;
A lot more flowers, a lot less strife,
For a new family of four, dealt mid-life.

Few ever have the courage to do what he did…

His life was earnest,
His actions kind,
A willing hand,
An active mind,

Anxious to please,
Loathe to offend,
Part of our family,
And, our faithful friend.

And he did it all well,
As if in a song;
AWAY went the mold
When Will came along

Little things we remember…

His GREAT martinis on visiting Bev and Will;
His great pride in building the TIMES with skill;
His natural belief in the liberal cause;
His love for golf ‘til life made him pause.

Always in a worry about how others stood;
Loving ALL his kids like a caring Father should;
His love of basketball he did happily divulge;
The fear he felt in war’s Battle of the Bulge.

The way he’d devour The Sunday TIMES;
Dedication to puzzles – to lose was a crime!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY songs he sang with glee,
Over the phone, and WAY off-key…

…and many, many more…
…he wore his heart on his sleeve

Though we smile and make little fuss,
Few will miss Will more than us.

There is a link death cannot sever,
Love and remembrance last forever.

And when old times we oft recall,
It’s then we’ll miss him most of all.

So here’s to Will, and here’s to Will,
Let it be known as he lies at rest

He was among the very best, and
We’ve never met a better man

So we’ll drink, drink, drink UP to Will:

“Zum Wohl !”

And may the strength of us ALL be EVER in your journey!

Wilbur Gustav Hoppe 9 October 1925 – 25 May 2014

Will in 2007

It takes a brave man to take on a new family at the age of 54. Will was such a man. He had raised 3 children with his wife Dolores Schreiber who died in 1977. In 1980 he was willing to marry Bev Bryan Wayne, a widow with 3 children – 10, 8 and 5 – and be a father to them. “I’ll be able to relive the best years of my life,” he reasoned.

Will was born in Brooklyn to Gus and Dolly Hoppe, graduated from Franklin K. Lane HS in 1943 and served in the 286th Engineer Combat Battalion during World War Two. He was in Paris on VE Day! Using the GI Bill, he graduated from NYU in 1948. He was employed by the Brooklyn Eagle and the Smithtown Messenger before moving to the New York Times in 1955 for a 36-year career. He was transferred to Miami in 1975 to be the SE Regional Advertising Manager, a position he filled until his retirement in 1990.

Besides Bev, he is survived by his children Ellen Hoppe Shakespeare Karl (Terry); Glenda Hoppe; Randolph Hoppe (Lisa); Steven Wayne (Lisa); Wendy Jill Wayne Shorter (Gary) and Patrick Wayne; his sister Claire Kranz; brother-in-law Vince Bryan (Donna); grandchildren Laura Shakespeare, Craig Shakespeare, Jacob Wayne, Abigail Shorter, Ryley Wayne, Luke Shorter and Cannon Wayne.

Visitation from 4-6 PM on Thursday, May 29 followed by a celebration of Will’s life at 6:00 will be held at T. M. Ralph, Plantation. In lieu of flowers, donations to Will’s favorite organizations would be welcomed:

Camp Ma-He-Tu
6 Soundview Drive North
Huntington, NY 11743
Jack Kirby Museum
PO Box 5236
Hoboken NJ 07030

The Chronology of His Day, When Grandpa Was In Charge During His Visit

Written May 1993. Grandpa is 68 years old. Laura is 4 years 10 months. Craig is 9 months.

Grandpa feeds Craig

7:55am – Mommy & Daddy have gone. I am alone with Laura and Craig.

7:57am – Laura settles in front of the TV set and watches “Barney.” Meanwhile, Craig’s having fun by jumping up and down on my lap. I get tired before he does.

8:10am – My bed is not yet made and have not had time to shave. But Craig’s safely in his playpen which gives me time to fold the wash and start another load.

8:15am – Craig clamors to get out of playpen and again starts jumping on me. Laura has a Pop Tart while continuing to watch “Barney.”

9:00am – Craig to crib for nap. Laura changes from her PJs. Reset dryer because clothes still wet.

9:10am – Craig wakes and I take him out of his crib and carry him about. Play arts and crafts with Laura. (Polish her white shoes.) Craig watches. Laura insists on wearing crazy colored socks when she (we) finishes polishing her shoes.

9:45am – Everybody out on the swings. Thank goodness it wasn’t raining.

9:55am – Everybody back to the house and Craig to bed crying.

!0:05am – Phone rings. Wrong number.

!0:06am – Mommy calls… told her everything was fine. Folded wash… ate lunch… did crossword puzzle.

11:30am – Laura and I watch Barney tape.

11:35am – Laura disappears… couldn’t find her… she turns up in her tent/playhouse. A good joke on Grandpa.

11:55am – I napped.

11:58am – I read “Winnie the Pooh” to Laura.

12:01pm – Craig wakes up. Laura eats string cheese. Made tuna fish sandwich for Laura’s lunch. She spilled her milk and wouldn’t eat her sandwich.

12:10-12:40pm – Fed Craig his milk bottle and spoon fed his baby food as per Ellen’s instructions. My spooning technique leaves something to be desired… mostly on my clothes.

12:45pm – Ate Laura’s leftover tuna fish sandwich and had a beer. Craig scooting about in his walker. Laura again in tent.

12:55pm – Craig pulls to floor all wash I had folded and left on couch.

12:58pm – Blamed my flatulence on Craig and Laura believed me.

1:00pm – Played peek-a-boo with Craig.

1:15pm – Read “Winnie the Pooh” again to Laura.

1:30pm – Played with Craig. He jumped on my lap and “Da-Da’d”

1:30pm – Made butter bread for Laura. (Somebody had eaten the tuna fish.)

1:50pm – According to my instructions, Craig should have been ready to nap, but he wasn’t, so… everybody out to the swings.

2:25pm – Back in the house after much swinging of Craig and Laura. Played piano duet with Laura – 5-finger scale. While Craig’s in playpen, Laura helps Grandpa make his bed.

2:35pm – Started to change Craig’s poopy diaper.

2:55pm Finished changing Craig’s diaper. Then Laura and I had a drawing contest.

3:05pm – Craig in for a nap.

3:06pm – Aunt Glenda  called and ring woke up Craig momentarily. She spoke with Laura, too. I told her everything was fine.

3:13pm – Laura and I resumed drawing contest. I drew my cat both times. I lost because I couldn’t guess what Laura had drawn.

3:35pm – Game over. Took time to shave and Laura watched. “Why are you making such funny faces?” she asked.

3:40pm – We brushed our teeth.

3:43pm – Craig woke and I took him out of his crib.

3:50pm – Fed Craig his bottle.

4:05pm – Fatima comes to play with Laura. They enjoy being with each other, but I referee a lot.

4:20pm – Fed Craig his fruit, per my instructions.

4:30pm – MOMMY ARRIVES !

4:31pm – I change my clothes because there is baby food all over my shirt and shorts.