CAMPBELL - Leon E. Koperczak died unexpectedly Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 at his home in Campbell. He was born on Nov. 27, 1920 to Leon Sr. and Anna (Grzedieniak) Koperczak in Newark, N.J. Leon almost recognized his dream of celebrating at his 100th birthday party.
Leon graduated from Campbell Central School in 1940 (after also attending school in Bradford and Savona) where he recently participated in his 79th class reunion. He was president of the FFA his senior year and received a full scholarship to play basketball at Cornell University. However, because of his desire to support the war effort and become a businessman, Leon declined the scholarship and purchased Koperczak Dairy Farms in Savona in 1941. He started the farm using horses and horse drawn equipment and later upgraded it to motorized farm equipment.
Along with running the dairy farm, he ran a trucking company that included a milk route hauling milk cans to Pollio Dairy from 1941-1955, hauling ice from Thurston pond, and moving households and even whole houses.
Leon was a longtime member of the Savona Grange. He was President/Vice President of the Campbell Milk Producers for 25 years where he worked to promote the dairy industry with radio and newspaper spots across the country. Leon was also very active with cultural exchange programs by hosting students and trainees over many years from Poland (7), Brazil (1), and Panama (2).
In his later years, Leon was a fixture at many school sporting events in the Bath-Savona-Campbell-Bradford area and could be found frequently at the Savona Diner enjoying good food and giving area history lessons.
The Steuben County Fair and the Dairy Festival Parades were two of his favorite annual activities, never having missed a fair since 1940 nor a parade since its inception in 1959. In 2015, Leon was honored as the Grand Marshal for the Dairy Festival Parade.
Leon was predeceased by his wife of 48 years, Betty (Tharp) Koperczak (Campbell, NY) and his sisters Helen Phillips (Don) of Thurston and Leokady (Carmen) Spart of Corning. He is survived by his children, Susan Koperczak (Morristown, N.J.), Lyle (Amy) Koperczak (Campbell), Anna Koperczak (Toledo, Ohio), and Noel (Janette) Koperczak (Pendleton, IN), many nieces and nephews, and ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Calling hours will be Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Koperczak Family restored barn on County Route 125 in Campbell with a funeral service at 3:30 p.m. with Pastor Betty Bement officiating.
Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Bath 10 a.m. Monday with a celebration of Leon's life - open to all - to follow at the Koperczak Farm.
Donations can be made to the Savona and/or Campbell Fire Departments in lieu of flowers.
Condolences may be made at www.fagansfuneralhome.com.