November 9, 1942 – Sunday, January 26, 2014
Roger Melvin Lepel, age 71, of Lester Prairie spent the last weeks of his life at The Veteran’s Hospital in Minneapolis where he left this world on Sunday, January 26, 2014, surrounded by the love of his family.
He was born on November 9, 1942 in Plato, Minnesota to Melvin and Verna (Tessmer) Lepel. His father was killed in action during World War II in Burma, leaving his mother to raise his sister and him alone. Roger was brought up a Christian and spent his youth as a member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Plato, where he was both baptized and confirmed.
He attended Plato Elementary and later Glencoe High School, where he was a graduate of The Class of 1960.
During Roger’s exciting and adventurous youth he held many various jobs including driving tractor for threshing crews around Plato; assembling egg cartons at Nyhammers Fairway and TF Miller; he mixed plaster for Litzau Plastering and worked as a carpenter for Lepel Brothers Construction.
Roger was very involved in baseball in Plato and helped in organizing many pick up games. He was a part of the team that were Crow River Champions in the mid-60’s.
He entered The United States Navy in April of 1961. He said he joined because he wanted a chance to see the world. He served in California and The Phillipine Islands. He was a radioman aboard the USS Yorktown. He left the service honorably in May of 1965.
Roger started working for Schwartz Manufacturing in 1965. He started as an Inventory Control Clerk. He moved up through Production Control Manager, Plant Manager and finishing out his career with Schwartz as the Operations Manager for The Lester Prairie Site.
In 1988, he made a change in his career path and became a rural route mail carrier with The Lester Prairie Post Office. This new position was a welcome change. He thoroughly enjoyed being in his mail truck everyday listening to his shows. He retired in 2001 because of persistent health problems.
Roger was united in marriage on June 13, 1970 to Dianna (Bentz) at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winsted, Minnesota. Dianna and Roger had two daughters: Debra and Patricia. When Dianna’s nephews needed a family after the death of her sister and brother-in-law, Roger and Dianna lovingly welcomed the boys, Robert and Brian into the fold.
The family has many wonderful memories of vacations to South Dakota, Walt Disney World and the Grand Canyon. Numerous camping trips and time spent at the family cabin on Collinwood Lake. Roger taught his children many valuable lessons and values.
After the children were grown up and moved away, Roger and Dianna were able to do some more traveling which included many fly in trips to fish in Canada. They were also able to spend quality time with their grandchildren.
Roger was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was able to enjoy the hunting of pheasants, ducks and deer. He fished all over the United States. He taught his children and grandchildren about fishing. He also passed his appreciation of hunting to a few of his grandchildren and sons-in-law.
He was a league member of several bowling teams at Pla-Mor Lanes in Glencoe. He was on several teams that went to a state competition. Roger and Dianna also enjoyed being a part of a card club and Roger always enjoyed a good game of
sheephead or cribbage.
Roger was a member of Prairie Community Church of Lester Prairie from 1976. He served several years on the Council and Endowment Committees.
He is welcomed to heaven by his father: Melvin and mother: Verna; mother-in-law & father-in-law: Edna and Albert Bentz, brothers-in-law: Ronald Bentz, Harlan Bentz, Delmer Bentz and Ted Bentz, sisters-in-law: Marlene (Bentz) Schuette and her husband Virgil.
Survived by his wife: Dianna; daughters: Debra (Mark) Lepel Rudy of Mound, Patricia (Greg) Lepel Lange of Chaska; Robert Lepel of De Pere, Wisconsin and Brian Lepel of Maplewood; grandchildren: Samantha Rudy; Sydney Rudy; Josephine Lange; Blake Lepel; Dylan Lange; Jayden Lepel; Riley Lange; Chase Lepel; Joseph Lepel and Ariella Lepel; sister and brother-in-law: Judy and Chuck Tomhave of Green Valley, Arizona and their children, Roger’s nephews and niece; as well as many remaining members of Dianna’s family. Roger was the eldest living male of the Lepel’s of Plato and is survived by several cousins and his aunt: Katherine Lepel.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, January 30th from 4-8 P.M. at The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted.
Interment with military honors will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.