Lawrence Edward Hopple

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Lawrence Edward Hopple, 82, a native of Wilkes-Barre, died quietly in his sleep on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.

Most of my Dad's family and friends are gone now, so this obituary acts as a eulogy for a man I met 24 years ago. At our first meeting, he was nervous. I have to admit I was too. He was recovering from open heart surgery. A history of heart disease and alcoholism had taken its toll. Luckily, when we met he had been sober for many years. He was a kind man who welcomed me with open arms.

He was so proud to show me the life he had built. He was the president of the Wilkes-Barre Moose Lodge No. 128. He played an active role in the Toys for Tots for more than 30 years. One of my best memories was walking into his house and seeing it filled with toys that he would buy all year long.

To an outsider, his life may have looked undesirable. His social circle included societal outcast, people in financial need, people struggling with alcohol addiction. But my Dad understood them and helped where he could; offering a ride home, or a few extra dollars, or, on occasion, a swift kick.

He was a complex man who worked hard, loved deeply, fought fiercely, and pushed everyone away to see who had the courage to love him anyway. He had a great sense of humor and loved animals with a tenderness that was well hidden from most people in his life. His favorite cat, Biggy Boy, was a stray kitten my Dad found under his car one early morning. He was even late to work, a sin in his book, because it took over three hours to coax that frightened kitten out from under the car. Biggy Boy and my Dad had an extra special bond that lasted for 15 years. Biggy Boy helped my Dad heal when his partner, Cathy Smith, unexpectedly died of cancer in 2001.

My amazing Dad, while in his 70s, even stopped an armed robbery at a local gas station by punching the unsuspecting robber, then promptly sitting on him until the police arrived.

Lawrence, Larry to his family and friends, is survived by five children, Ruthann Ventura, Larry Hopple, Brenda Stephens, Brian Hopple and Kandy Chimitt; and a gaggle of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I think back to the Christmas Day phone call 24 years ago that said, "if you want to meet your Dad, now is the time." I am so grateful that I put fear aside and got on a plane to Wilkes-Barre, to meet my biological Dad. He has been a very important blessing in not only my life, but my daughter's life as well. We will miss him.

Memories and condolences may be shared with Larry's family at
Funeral Home
McLaughlin's - The Family Funeral Service
142 South Washington Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
(570) 823-4567
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Published in Citizens' Voice on Jan. 7, 2018
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