Obit: Koperski, Joseph John "Joe" (1910 - 1997)


Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon



Surnames: Koperski, Kowalczyk, Siecki, Fennell, Pandza, Clarke, Patch, Paczkowski, Koltis, Puerner


----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI.) February 19, 1997


Koperski, Joseph John "Joe" (14 October 1910 - 14 February 1997) With flag


Joseph John (Joe) Koperski, 86, was born in Penn, PA October 14, 1910, the first son of Catherine and John Koperski and died Friday February 14, 1997.  His parents relocated to Thorp, WI in 1912 where he attended public schools and graduated from Thorp high School in 1927.  He received his B. S. Degree from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1932 and did graduate work at I. I. T. and Princeton University.  He married Victoria Kowalczyk November 22, 1933 in St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Chicago, IL.


Joe was a registered professional civil engineer and a veteran of 35 years of services with the Corp of Engineers-U. S. Army. The last 16 years before retirement in 1971, he was Chief of the Engineering Division and ranking Civilian employee with the Corp’s Jacksonville District.  He was responsible for the planning and design of military and civil work projects in Florida, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Panama Canal Zone and some countries in South America.  The projects included missile ranges, airfields, camps, flood control navigation and harbor channels and beach restoration. Some of the most prominent projects were the Air Force Atlantic Missile Range, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Central and South Florida Flood Control and the Cross Florida Barge Canal.  During the peak of the program he had supervision of more than 400 government employees, 35 architects and engineering firms under contract to the Corp of Engineers.


Koperski was nationally known for his planning and engineering accomplishments and was a recipient of many honors and awards.  The most prestigious were the Army’s two highest civilian awards: the Meritorious Award in 1965 b y the Chief of Engineers and in 1970 the Exceptional Civilian Award by the Secretary of the Army; Wheeler Metal present annually by the SAME to one engineer selected nationally for outstanding contributions to engineering; named Florida Engineer in 1966 for outstanding service to the consulting engineers in Florida.


He had a commission in the Navy in 1944-1946 and served as a Construction and Public Works Officer in the Pacific.  Koperski is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (president of the Jacksonville and Florida sections), Society of American Military Engineers, Knights of Columbus and the American Association of Individual Investors.


He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Vicki; two daughters: Mrs. Barbara Siecki of Gaithersburg, MD and Mrs. Janet Fennell of Caracas, Venezuela and four grandchildren: Michelle Pandza, Jennifer Siecki, Joseph (Moss) and Stacy Fennell.  His surviving brother is Julius Koperski of Chicago, IL and his sisters are: LaVerne Clarke, Newport, CA, Viola Patch, Marie Kowalczyk, both of Thorp, WI, Victoria Paczkowski, Withee, WI and Catherine Koltis, San Francisco, CA.


Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 19, 1997 at St. Bernard-St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church, Thorp with Rev. John Puerner officiating.  Burial was in new St. Hedwig’s Cemetery.  Visitations were Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. until time of service.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to St. Mathews Catholic Church, Jacksonville, FL or to St. Bernard-St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church, Thorp.



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