E. Mildred (Doebbeling) KopisMarch 24, 1936 ~ March 10, 2017 (age 80)
E. Mildred Kopis March 24 1936 – March 10 2017
Ethel Mildred Kopis, 80, passed away in Peru, Indiana, on March 10, 2017, after a brief illness. She was preceded in death by her parents Garnet Ivy (McVicker) and Irving Dietrich “Pete” Doebbeling and her husband, Donald F. Kopis. She is survived by her children Diana Baumbauer, Donald, Douglas (Michelle Snyder), David (Jennifer) and Dwight (Bonnie); her Baumbauer grandchildren Christopher and Lauren, and her Kopis grandchildren Jacob, Wesley, Tyler, Macy, Adele and Glen; by her beloved cousins, relatives and in-laws; and by many friends young and old who remain touched by her cheerful and vibrant personality. She was a longtime member of the Paw Paw United Methodist Church, rural northeast Miami County.
Mildred was born March 24, 1936, in Jetmore, Kansas. She was raised in western Kansas, near Ness City, as well as in Pueblo, Colorado. She graduated from Ness City High School, second in her class in 1954. She attended Blair Business College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which led to her first job as a legal secretary for a firm that included Colorado’s representative to the National Republican Committee.
At her 20th birthday party with friends and cousins, she met Donald Kopis, a soldier stationed at the nearby U.S. Army base, Fort Carson. They were married six months later; their first of five children arrived the next year. The couple would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary together.
In 1966, a growing Kopis family of six moved from Colorado Springs to Leo, Indiana, then a small community outside of Fort Wayne. Though Mildred got a job working for another law firm, she soon devoted herself to her family as a full-time mother and homemaker.
After their fifth child was born, the family moved to Wabash County in 1970 and, finally, Miami County in 1976. Mildred and Donald owned and operated the farm that surrounds Paw Paw United Methodist Church. Besides the agriculture work, the family raised, trained and competed bird dogs and horses on the farm. Once the children became adults, the couple moved to Peru in 1992 where they would spend the rest of their lives.
As her children got older, Mildred returned to work as an office manager for area firms, including for her husband, who had by then become a business owner and consultant. In 1989, she was hired as assistant curator for the Miami County Museum, a position she considered the “best job of her life.” A fan of native son Cole Porter and his music, she was thrilled to be professionally acknowledged in a book on his life. After 20 years, she retired as the museum’s curator, but continued to volunteer there for several years thereafter. In 2013, the Miami County Museum and Historical Society publicly recognized her tenure and contributions, naming her the museum’s “Queen Regnant.” Mildred was also a trustee of the Peru Public Library from 2002–2014.
Mildred was a devoted and engaged parent for all of her children’s extracurricular activities. This devotion remained as she provided love, support and council to her adult children and her grandchildren.
Civic minded, Mildred was involved in politics to the extent that she attended President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. Since her childhood, Mildred loved books and was an avid reader. While physically able, she enjoyed travel, particularly to destinations for annual cousin get-togethers or to visit grandchildren. Since cheering on her Ness City High’s Eagles, Mildred looked forward to the beginning of each football season. She loved animals and almost always had a dog or cat in her home her entire life. She enjoyed birdwatching, taking regular trips to the countryside and chronicling what she saw, particularly eagles.
Her love was as profound as it was broad. Mildred will be missed dearly by all who met her.
Visitation is 12 to 4 Sunday afternoon, March 19, at McClain Funeral Home, Denver, Indiana. A celebration of her life will be held on April 29 at Paw Paw United Methodist Church, also of Denver, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that one consider a donation in Mildred's name to the Miami County Historical Society or to Paw Paw United Methodist Church.