- About Us
Better known as “Red” due to his bright red hair, Ed lived and experienced life to the fullest. Ed’s journey began in New Jersey in 1923. Born to immigrant parents from Germany, Ed had four brothers and one sister. In 1939, he joined the United States Marines. In 1940, Ed served in the United States Army, Private First Class “field artillery.” During World War II, Ed served in the United States Navy and was an MM2 Machinist Mate second class. He was then later reassigned to a newly created division of the Navy called the Seabees construction battalion. Better known as the “Fighting Seabees” or “Seabees Can Do.” Ed was assigned to various South Pacific Islands where he saw combat and was the recipient of several medals and citations for his service. Ed remained in the Navy as a reservist until 1953.
After the war, Ed went to work for a grocery store and then became a postal service carrier as a railroad mail man, later relocating to Sonora as a postman. Ed spent several years serving in the community as a fair board member and director, as a member of the Tuolumne County Sheriff Posse where he served as captain, and as a member of the Masonic Order Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite and Shriners. He was active in the VFW and was a charter member of the Legion of Honor in Tacoma, WA as well as other community social events. Ed was a cowboy and an avid horseman spending several years breaking horses and branding cattle on the family ranch.
After retiring as postmaster in Riverbank, he became director of Senior Opportunity Services Program in Modesto and enjoyed meeting and feeding a lot of our seniors. Ed was married to Carolyn Popke for 37 years, and they enjoyed several adventures, relocating to other states before finally settling down in Winlock, Washington, where he passed peacefully in his sleep. Our father was an accomplished and respected man who loved his country, his family, and the freedom he fought for and left a giant footprint with people he met.
Ed is survived by his wife, Carolyn; children, Tina Popke, Ed Popke and John Popke; stepchildren Jennifer Shockley, Raymond Shockley, Paul Shockley, Eric Klaproth, and William “Bill” Klaproth; grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
A private family service will be held in his honor.
The Popke family.