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Lawrence Porter Rehkopf

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Lawrence Porter Rehkopf Obituary
Rehkopf, Lawrence Porter 08/10/1919 ~ 08/03/2014 ESCONDIDO -- Lawrence (Larry) passed away in his sleep at 94 years of age on Sunday morning, August 3, 2014. He was born August 10, 1919 in San Diego California to Worthy and Clara Rehkopf. Larry graduated from Redlands High School where he was a champion swimmer on the varsity team in 1936 and '37, actually earning the nickname, "some fish." At the age of 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and went to boot camp at Rosecrans in San Diego in 1938. He served in various campaigns in the Pacific, including many of the major sea battles of WW II, such as the Battle of Tassafaronga in which the Minneapolis was hit by two torpedoes and nearly sank. Larry's fire control team then shot down several enemy aircraft. After the engagement, the crew was able to fashion a bow out of palm trees and back down all the way to Pearl Harbor. He was also a Pearl Harbor survivor of December 7, 1941 on the same heavy cruiser, Minneapolis, the Admiral's flagship, just off Diamond Head as the Japanese zeroes flew overhead. Larry retired as a Lieutenant JG after a 20 career year as Chief Fire Control Technician (FTC). Throughout his career, he was recognized for excellence by the Navy and taught many young sailors in formal classes on technical topics. While on duty he met his future bride, Lois Marie Houser in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in early 1945. After a short courtship, they were married in the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale on Los Olas Boulevard, at 9:00 p.m. following the Wednesday night prayer meeting. After their wedding, Larry and Lois were stationed in Cuba, Virginia, Maryland, New York, and Washington D.C. During that 20 year career six children were born, all on the East Coast. After his career in the Navy, Larry moved the family across country from Norfolk, VA to San Diego, and worked on the Saturn Centaur rocket program at General Dynamics. He then worked as an electronics specialist for NCR in Rancho Bernardo. His final "assignment" by his choice, was as custodian of his church, Bethel Baptist, for many years. In this place of worship he faithfully served as Deacon, Bible Study teacher, and adult Sunday School department director. Larry was preceded in death by his wife and our wonderful mom, Lois, in 2005. He is survived by his brother, Forrest of Paradise CA; and sister, Marian of Yucaipa CA. He is also survived by all six children and their spouses: Brian (Sandy), James (Nancy), John (Edith), Steve (Pam), Donna Thommarson (Rob), and Gary (Debbie). In addition, Larry and Lois have 16 grandchildren, 20 great- grandchildren, and 13 foster children. What did he do for fun? He loved fishing of all types and camping with the family in the Sierra's and at the beach. He owned the biggest tent Sears manufactured, a Coleman stove, and the biggest iron skillet made. We would stop in Perris and get a 100 pound bag of potatoes from Uncle Harry on the way to the Sierras. Those potatoes and fried trout kept us alive for two weeks each year. He was a voracious reader and loved the printed page; his library was extensive but he was born too early for a Kindle. A viewing opportunity took place at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 6 at Alhiser-Comer Mortuary in Escondido, followed by a military graveside service at Riverside National Cemetery at 11:00 a.m.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Aug. 6, 2014
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