Surviving are 2 children: a son, Terry Lee (Mary Jo) Joseph, Rockford and a daughter, Gloria Joseph, Decatur, Indiana. Four brothers survive: Howard (Joan) Coats, Sebring, Florida; Dallas Coats, Celina, Ohio; Paul (Vivian) Coats, Celina, Ohio; and James J. (Bonnie) Coats, Celina, Ohio. Also surviving is one sister: Barbara (Bill) Doty, Wapakoneta, Ohio. Eight grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren survive as well. One sister-in-law, Dorothy Coats survives in Texas. Deceased are one son, Gary Eugene Joseph, 2 brothers, Irvin Coats and Don Coats and 1 sister, Joyce Ward.
Memorial services will be held on Thursday. December 10, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. at Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home in Rockford, with Celebrant Casey Nuttle officiating. Friends may call from 10:00 a.m. up until the time of the service at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Friends Chapel Cemetery, Tama, Ohio.
B&O Railroad agent, WWII and Korea veteran, brother, father, and grandfather,
died suddenly in Henderson, Nevada on December 5, 2015.
"Hap" was born Hubert Eugene Piper on April 26, 1924 in Rockford, Ohio, to the
late H.H. & Eva Grace Gibson Piper, and spent his formative years in Paxton, Illinois,
He is survived by his three daughters, Madeline Piper of Boston, Massachusetts,
Helen Miller of Elkmont, Alabama and Mary Rasberry of North Bend, Oregon,
daughter-in-law, Sue Piper of Celina, grandchildren, great grandchildren,
great-great grandchildren and his siblings, Betty Trickle of Missoula, Montana,
Jean Karlock of Rankin, Illinois, and Neil Piper of West Palm Beach, Florida.
He was preceded in death by his son Dan Piper, daughter Elizabeth Fetters,
sons-in-law, Chet Fetters, Stan Miller and John Rasberry and
brothers-in-law, Frank Karlock and John Trickel
One of the defining events of Hap’s life began with his service in the Navy during WWII. He served under Admiral William T. “Bull” Halsey on the heavy cruiser USS Louisville, before transferring to
the flagship USS Missouri. As a communications supervisor, Hap was among the very first to hear
that Japan would surrender. The initial message came across the ship’s radio on August 14, 1945.
From Hap’s position, just off the pilothouse on the starboard side of the Missouri, he witnessed Emperor Hirohito and General Douglas MacArthur sign the surrender papers in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. After WWII, Hap was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served
with the North Atlantic Amphibious Force.
At the ripe old age of 19, Hap met Mary Jordan (then 26), in Elkton, Maryland. With just a few weekends of dating under their belts, they married on July 22, 1944. Over the next 49 years together, Hap (always “Hubert” to his wife) and Mary raised five children together, living in Illinois, Indiana,
Ohio, and Montana. They moved to Montana in 1972, where Hap worked as a master electrician for many years and was active in the Masonic Lodge. Mary became an auctioneer, and also managed
the Polson Senior Center.
In 1984, Hap completed training at Grant Evangelical Theological Seminary on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois, and became an ordained minister. Hap and Mary served for Methodist churches in the Montana towns of Valier, Roundup, Grass Range, Winnett, Clancy and Boulder, before retiring to Polson.
Mary passed away in Polson in 1993. In June of 1996, Hap married Phyllis Morigeau, also a widower,
and the two remained an active part of the Polson community until her death in February 2015.
In May of 2015, Hap moved to Henderson, Nevada, to live with his grandson's family,
Jason, wife Jenny, and sons, Bill & Ben Rasberry. ( fulfilling many years of dreaming
about moving to the desert and away from those harsh Montana winters).
For better or worse (but only worse if you happened to be on the road with him at the time),
Hap actively drove a car from the age of 9 until his death at 91. He was independent and in
good health. Those of us who knew and loved him are saddened and shocked by his sudden
passing, but we also know that his years on this earth were well-lived.
His ashes will be interred at Neptune Cemetery in Center Township.
No Services are planned at this time.
Local arrangements are being handled by
W.H. Dick & Sons-Hellwarth Funeral Home in Celina.
Condolences may be expressed at dickandsonshellwarthfh.com
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