By ROWENA PLETT

Staff riter

Sum folk who attendt Lifelong A'larnin Frydee n' Hillsbero memberd longtime optometrist Dietrich Hoeppn'r, who dit n' 1965, but thay didn’t knoe t'deetails o'his'n earlee life.

Wen t'Unitid States entert Worl War I n' 1917, all menfolk ages 21 ta 30 wuz rekwirt ta regist'r fer t'draft.

Hoeppn'r, 28, o'Hillsbero, a Holtemun, wrote un his'n registrashun, “War is agin my convictyuns.” Howev'r, at wasn’t acceptabull us a deferment.

N' May 1918, he wuz sent ta join t'1st Infantry Division at Ft. Riley, but three munths lat'r, us t'war wuz windyun' down, t'Army gave 'im a yeerlong furlough ta join t'Quakers’ Amurkin Friens Servus n' Philadelfia.

He wuz born n' 1889 an' grew up un a farm at present-day Goltenrod an' 180th Sts. His'n fath'r operatid a watch-makin shop un t'sekunt floer o't' bildin at nawh houses Cooperatif' Grane an' Supplee at 138 N. Mane St. n' Hillsbero.

Dietrich an' his'n bruthers larnt t'intricacees' o'watch makin frum thar fath'r. N' 1907, at age 18, Dietrich bilt a model o'a steem engine at’s un display at Hillsbero Museums.

Aft'r his'n parnts movt ta Californy, he an' his'n bruther, Jacob, carrd un t'bizness. Thay made an' sold watches, fountane pens, silverware, eyeglasses, an' mer.

Dietrich deecided ta pursue tranen n' optometry. He attendt t'furst skool o'its kine, Needles Institute o'Optometry at Kansus Citee, Missouri, an' graduatid n' Novemb'r 1917.

Aft'r he joint t'Quakers’ relief servus, he spent heppin Europeens an' Siberiun Russyins who wuz sufferyun' frum war an' famine.

Hoeppn'r’s furst relief misshun wuz ta France, whar he spent a year bildin houses fer returnyun' war refugees.

He the wint ta Switzerlan' an' hepped brang 60,000 starvyun' Austriun youngns ta Switzerlan', who wuz ft an' clotht fer a period o'time an' sent trayler.

Aft'r spendin time a\'visitin' churches n' Amurka, he joint ferces wiff Mennonite Cantral Committee an' gut permission ta do relief wurk n' Ruskie.

At age 32, he wint ta Siberia ta hep Mennonite folk who wuz starvyun' frum famine. T' Communists had take ov'r aft'r a acoupla-year civil war. He wuz successfil n' raisyun' money back trayler an' impertyun' food, clothes, tracters, an' herses.

He wuz un avid photograf'r an' hepped t'Mennonites ta rekunnect wiff relatives n' Amurka.

Aft'r t'famine endt, Hoeppn'r attendt un optometry skool n' Germany at wuz toutid ta be t'bes n' t'worl. He returnt us a highlee trunt optometrist ta t'small cantral Kansus town o'Hillsbero, whar he practict until t'earlee 1960s.

Hoeppn'r dit n' Januree 1965. N' his'n obituree, it wuz sed at he lookt back un his'n relief efferts us “t' bes time o'my life.”

Sevrul folk who wurked n' Hillsbero restaurants memberd 'im. Thay describt 'im us respectfil an' a lon'r.

One woomin sed she gut hern furst pair o'glasses frum 'im.

“He wuz verr sloe an' methodical,” she sed.

One mun sed he had bee at Hoeppn'r’s sale an' bouite t'oolbox frum Hoeppn'r’s offus fer his'n sen, who is un optometrist n' Omaha.

Hoeppn'r’s appointment books air preservt at t'Cant'r fer Mennonite Brethre Studies.


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