Family and friends are mourning the loss of Jack M. Hopkins. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 13, 1920, Jack was part of the “Greatest Generation,” a term coined by Tom Brokaw to describe those who lived through the Great Depression, fought and won World War II, and rebuilt America after the war.
While attending elementary school, he began working part time at age nine to help support his mother and sister during hard times which affected the whole country. He recalled that the lunch he took to school would often be a jam sandwich, actually just two pieces of bread jammed together. As a teenager, he was a bicycle messenger throughout Kansas City, both in Missouri and Kansas, summer and winter. Following high school, he worked in the switchyard of the Union Pacific Railroad and in the shipping department at Sears, Roebuck, & Co. He also trained as an electrician before joining the U.S. Army during World War II. He earned his wings in the Army Air Corps, what is now the Air Force. He flew bombers and trained Air Corps and Navy pilots. After the war, he continued flying bombers with the Missouri Air National Guard before becoming an air traffic controller, first in Kansas City, and later in Great Falls, Montana.
Anyone who was introduced to him and said, “Hi, Jack,” soon heard, “Never say ‘hijack’ to an old air traffic controller.” Jack had a ready smile and loved to laugh. He was fascinated by cars, planes, trains, trucks and any kind of machine. Even when he wasn’t the one handling a particular job or machine, he often said, “I love to watch men work.” He was handy and enjoyed improving every house he owned. He was quick to offer help to anyone who needed it. Throughout his life he loved dogs, and many people in Westport knew him, even though they had never met him, because of his habit of waving at passing cars while standing in front of his house on S. Montesano St., with his last dog, Poco. Jack married Jean Carden in 1944 and their wedding picture shows them in their respective Army and Navy uniforms. Jack and Jean were inseparable sweethearts. He took complete care of her for six years following the amputation of both her legs, and never stopped mourning after her death in 2003. As well as friends and extended family, his children and their families who are left to grieve for his loss, Linda Lara in Westport; Jack R. Hopkins, his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Molly of Bozeman, Montana, Stephen and his wife, Bonnie of Livingston, Montana and Paul Hopkins and his sons, Jeff and Sam of Loveland, Colorado.
Jack was proud to call Westport home for a quarter of a century. His neighbors and friends, as well as the many people he encountered in businesses in town, were especially helpful to him, always treating him with respect and kindness, even as Alzheimer’s disease made his life more and more difficult. He received the best of medical care from Timothy Troeh, M.D., and, later, Shelley Dueber, D.O. The South Beach Ambulance Service not only provided professional and reassuring care when Jack needed it, but also treated him as an old friend. After surgery and rehabilitation for a broken hip in 2012, Jack received five months of outstanding in-home care from Jeanette Ullom. Old Hop, as he was often called, lived his final year in an Adult Family Home in Tokeland. David Palmer and David Woolery made Dolphin Cove more than simply a place of safety and personal care. Using both their hearts and their professional skills, they made their home a place in which Old Hop could really feel at home. He died quietly there on February 12, 2014, and the world will never be the same.