Gene Joseph Hoppe "Papo" Profile Photo
1947 Gene Joseph Hoppe "Papo" 2023

Gene Joseph Hoppe "Papo"

March 13, 1947 — October 8, 2023

Independence, Missouri


At 4:55am on Sunday, October 8, 2023, our Dad, Gene Hoppe, was called home to heaven.  Gene was born on March 13, 1947 to Lou and Evelyn (Miller) Hoppe at Wichita Hospital in Wichita, Kansas.

He attended St. John’s Catholic School in Clonmel, Kansas where he spent his eight grade school years, being taught by Dominican nuns.  It has always been a joke that Gene did not go to kindergarten, as it was not offered. He was an altar boy and received his First Communion at St. John’s.  Gene graduated from Garden Plain High School in Garden Plain, Kansas in 1965.  There he enjoyed his athletic years playing football, basketball and running track.

Gene met the love of his life, Carolann while they were both beginning their college careers. They were married on August 31, 1968.  Since they were now a couple, they headed together to Dodge City, Kansas where he pursued and graduated from St. Mary of the Plains with his bachelor’s degree in education in 1969. 

Gene began his teaching career in Wichita, Kansas, while Carolann completed her Nursing school in becoming an RN.  Upon Carolann’s graduation, they relocated to Emporia, Kansas where Gene obtained his master’s degree from Emporia State University.  The next three years brought a couple different relocations before landing his dream job of teaching American History at William Chrisman High School in Independence, Missouri.

Mr. Hoppe was a true LEGEND in his career as a history teacher!  Nearly 40 years of impacting thousands of students and non-students for life has not gone unnoticed.  Whether you had Mr. Hoppe as a teacher or not, you knew who he was.  He made you feel valued through encouragement, funny jokes, unlimited extra credit, a Zap or Grenade here and there through his classroom behavior system that always kept learning exciting.

In addition to being a history teacher, Gene gave his time in other ways too.  One being the Junior Class Prom sponsor, where he guided students in organizing a venue for the dance, setting up dinner choices, photography, souvenir glasses, DJ for music, managing ticket costs and much more. 

Gene was dedicated to working to give voice to public educators in Independence and across the state.  He served as president of the Independence NEA and helped lead the effort to protect public teacher salaries and the quality of education for students.  Gene was also active at the state and national levels of the National Education Association – a cause that was one of his key passions.  He served as a mentor and advisor to future leaders in the union throughout his professional life and during his retirement.

From the time Gene was little, he always worked hard on their Hoppe farm. Milking cows twice a day, baling hay, bringing in wheat and corn, to the endless maintenance on the farm.  Even up to weeks before he passed, Gene always loved keeping things going on the Hoppe Farm in Goddard, Kansas.  He especially enjoyed keeping things ‘spiffed up’ by trimming the tree belt which some would say he was wasting his time on, mowing the home place and multiple ditches in Sedgwick County to cutting wood for the next bonfire at the farm. Taking care of the “home place” was very important to him.  Every summer, he was a key player with the Wheat Harvest, operating a combine or discing a field in a tractor; as well as each fall, ensuring the new crop was successfully planted for the following year.

Gene is preceded in death by his parents, Lou and Evelyn Hoppe, his sister, Ann Hoppe, and his wife of 52 years, Carolann.  He is survived by his three children: Julie Henkel (Jimmy), Craig Hoppe (Heather), Laurie Countryman (Robert). Seven grandkids: Ashley Hunt (Chris), Lauren Links (Zack), Zach Hodges, Dallas Countryman (17), Ty Hoppe (17), Gatlin Countryman (14), Brooklyn Powell (10).  Five great grandkids: Austin Hunt (17), Hunter Hodges (7), Easton Hunt (7), Lilyanna Hodges (4), and Mason Links (2).

The Hoppe Family would like to thank all physicians, nurses and therapists at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, Harvesters or St. Mark Catholic Church.

Visitation will take place at St. Mark’s Catholic Church (3736 S. Lee’s Summit Road, Independence, MO) on Sunday, October 15 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. preceded by a Rosary at 3:30 p.m.

Funeral Mass will also take place at St. Mark’s Catholic Church on Monday, October 16 at 11:00 a.m.  For those unable to attend, a live streaming of the funeral will be shown at:

Inurnment will occur at St. John’s Catholic Church in Clonmel, Kansas at a later date.


Online condolences may be expressed to the family at (Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel (816) 373-3600)

In memory of Gene Joseph Hoppe "Papo", please consider making a donation to one of the following charities:

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, October 15, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Monday, October 16, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1212

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors