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Arild Vernon Kepler


Posted By: Kathie Kepler Harrington (email)
Date: 9/5/2010 at 10:31:18

Arild Vernon Kepler was born in Stanhope, Iowa to Mable and Vernon Kepler. Raised in Webster City, IA, he married Mary Jane Higbee of Webster City on November 21, 1943. They raised four children: Julie May Kepler Richey (deceased), Kathleen Ann Kepler Harrington, Cynthia Kay Kepler Leitner, and David Vernon Kepler.

The following is a revision of the eulogy I presented for my dad on October 21, 1998 at his funeral.

For My Dad
Arild Vernon “Kep” Kepler
August 22, 1921 ~ October 13, 1998
Interment: Graceland Cemetery
Webster City, IA

Kathie Kepler Harrington

When I was a little girl, we went on a trip to California in a 1956 red and black Ford. From the moment we rolled out of our driveway in the middle of Iowa until we reached the parking lot of Disneyland, I’d ask my dad the same question, “How much further, daddy?”

My dad, with is patience and wisdom, would always reply in the same manner, “Oh not far, Kathie, it’s just over the hill and around the corner.”

After many hills and many corners, my dad was right; we arrived at Disneyland.

* * * * *

Every member of our family wants to thank you for being here today. We appreciate so very much your compassion and your warmth. We acknowledge your part in making my father’s life a reason to find celebration and joy in our time of sorrow. In the future, when our minds drift back upon happier days, it will not be about my dad’s death that we reminisce but rather about his life. He was happiest as a poet, a storyteller and a Thespian and his love of music provided harmony throughout his years.

Many of you knew my dad when he had black hair. I didn’t. It was always gray and then white for me. Many of you knew my dad when he was young and vital and had a vision for the future that was intense. To me, my dad will always be young and vital. Many of you knew my dad before he had a handlebar mustache. I remember buying him mustache wax. I think that all of you knew my dad as “Kep” but to me, he was my dad.

Many of the people of Iowa Falls and Webster City ate my dad’s cooking at the Red Rooster Grill. It was there he taught me to cook, do dishes, run a business, and make coffee. It was there he taught me dedication, responsibility, work ethics, and the importance of wearing a smile in order to make another person’s day a little brighter.

When my dad went from selling food to selling cars many of you were there.
You were there when the good times rolled and you were there when they rolled back the other way. We know you were there, not because you had to be, but because you choose to be.

My dad, loved living. He was a generous and loving husband for over 50 years to our mother. Together, they weathered life’s storms and found rainbows. Together, they built bridges
and covered them with love. And together, they walked through each moment of each day as he so eloquently portrayed in his poem, “Life’s Partner.”

You might have known “Kep” as the one who told the best joke at a party or the one who loved to play solitaire on the hoods of cars, tell World War II stories, or look in wonder and curiosity as new technology became a part of our every day lives. You might have known “Kep” as the one who loved John Phillip Sousa Marches or recall his recitations from John Adams to “Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy.” However, it was my dad who drove my older sister to Fort Dodge and back every two weeks for seven years when she had braces on her teeth. It was my dad who took me to every Audie Murphy and cowboy movie ever made. That was our Friday night date at the Met Theater. It was my dad who started a citywide collection for new high school band uniforms. It was my dad who went on a letter writing campaign to state and national politicians for “notch babies.” As far as I know, Uncle Sam is still beating the “babies.” It was my dad who searched for the innocents of the fifties in the nineties. It was my dad who instilled in my children the importance of history and the lessons worth learning. It was my dad, whose advice I sought, and whose courage I clinged to. It was my dad who opened my eyes, as a mother, to the acceptance of a child whose dreams were without wings. It was my dad who just two weeks ago bought a new video for his youngest grandchild. He wanted her to learn the most valuable lessons in the world from those who had taught him, the lessons from “The Three Little Pigs.” It was my dad who wrote poetry by finding humor in his ever-aging, ever-handicapping world.

My dad believed in heaven and in a loving God who would remove the pain of the world we know. He believed in the quality of life, not the quantity. My dad had no fear of death. He knew that his time was near and he knew where he was going as he penned in one of his poems, “The Setting Sun.”

Each one of us knows people because our lives have sung in harmony somewhere along life’s way. We know that person for the shared experiences we have. I want you to know my dad because he was more than “Kep.” He was more than that sailor, veteran, grocery, restaurant, and dealership owner. My dad had a good life and in that, I find reason to celebrate. You see, my dad may be gone but he’ll always be close to all of the people he loved because he’s in a good place. After all, he’s just over the hill and around the corner.

My father is buried in Webster City, Iowa.

Kathies World

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