SOPKIN, Major Seymour Simon, United States Air Force
(Ret.), 91, of Tampa, Fl., went to be with The Lord on Friday, May 17, 2013. He was born in Chicago, Il. and lived there until enlisting in the U.S. Army
Air Corps after graduating from a technical high school. Seymour was predeceased by his loving wife, Mary Lucille Martin Sopkin; his parents, Pearl Michaels Sopkin and Saul Sopkin; his sisters, Gertrude Swedy, Frieda Berger, and Sylvia Badt; his adoptive parents, Alex and Rebecca Shanas; his step-siblings, Joe Shanas, Syd Coleman, Ethel Shanas Perlman, Ace Shanas, and Lenny Shanas, and his nephew, Michael Badt. Early in his life, Seymour was placed in a number of foster homes, as his parents were unable to care for him and his 3 sisters. Things were very difficult for Seymour until he and his younger sister were adopted by Alex and Rebecca Shanas, a wonderful couple who had 5 children of their own. This remarkable family taught Seymour love, trust, and responsibility, and gave him a sense of belonging that shaped the rest of his life. As a young adult, Seymour enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as an aircraft mechanic and crew chief. Due to his excellent performance record, Seymour earned the opportunity to become a Warrant Officer and pilot. During World World II, Seymour was stationed in North Africa and flew many dangerous combat missions over enemy territory as the captain of a number of different heavy bombers. On one particularly perilous mission, his squadron took heavy casualties from anti-aircraft ground fire, and Seymour was seriously wounded in the leg. Nevertheless, he brought his damaged aircraft and crew safely back across the Mediterranean Sea to his home base. He was subsequently awarded The Purple Heart
for injuries incurred on this mission. While stationed in north Africa, Seymour met Mary Lucille Martin, a beautiful Army Air Corps flight nurse. Mary Lucille was truly the love of his life, and they were married in Casablanca only 2 weeks after meeting. They remained deeply in love until her death nearly 60 years later. Seymour subsequently completed more than 21 years of active duty service to his country, primarily at MacDill AFB in Tampa. He retired from the Air Force in June, 1960, and embarked on a long and successful career with The Prudential Life Insurance Co. Seymour and Mary Lucille were lifelong members of Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in Tampa. Seymour was a devoted family man who could never turn his back on anyone in need. For example, he served for years as the coach of his son's youth baseball team and also as a sponsor of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship at his church. Seymour was very mechanically gifted and was constantly repairing and rebuilding cars for his family and numerous friends. He taught all his children and grandchildren to drive, and picked up both generations daily after school at Chamberlain High School in Tampa. The "Chief's Head" on the front of the school was always the meeting point, and became symbolic of Seymour's devotion to the care of his family. He was deeply loved by many and respected by all. Seymour was the loving father of Sara Sue Prugh, Mary Rebecca Sopkin Dressler (Gene), and James Seymour Sopkin (Mary); the beloved grandfather (Poppa) of Charity Anne Sopkin Plath, Stephen Edward Dressler, Kristin Lee Sopkin, and Jennifer Sarah Dressler Broecker (Terry); and the very special great-grandfather of James Christopher (J.C.) Plath, Liam Jon Broecker, and Everett Eugene Broecker. Seymour is survived by his sisters-in-law Lenore Stewart of Parrish and Jeanne Bagley (Charley) of Durham, N.C., as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family, especially Rehka Chandra, M.D., Vijay Chandra, and Avinash Sharma, R.Ph. Per Seymour's wishes, there will be a celebration of his life at a graveside service at Palmetto Cemetery at 11:00 AM on Thursday, May 23, 2013, officiated by Pastor Waldemar Meyer of Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. The homegoing celebration will continue when the family receives friends from 1:00 - 4:00pm at the home of Becky and Gene Dressler, 1927 Curry Rd., Lutz, Fl. 33549. For more information, please call (813) 978-8161 or (813) 908-6367. In lieu of flowers, donations in Seymour's honor to the Mary Lucille Martin Sopkin Nursing Scholarship (Univ. of South Florida College of Nursing) or to LifePath Hospice would be greatly appreciated. The family would like to extend special thanks to the following for their wonderful care of our beloved father and grandfather during the recent difficult months: Arden Courts Assisted Living, the Critical Care Unit at St. Joseph's Hospital (Main), "Right At Home" Home Care, and LifePath Hospice. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Kicliter Funeral Home, 517 8th Ave. West, Palmetto, Fl. 34221.