Cover photo for Rodney D. Koepke's Obituary

Rodney D. Koepke

November 9, 1953 — February 25, 2024

Rodney D. Koepke

                

                Rodney Dale Koepke died on February 25, 2024, at his home south of Matheson.  He endured congestive heart failure and diabetes for several years but was happy that in his last summer on earth, he was able to see the end of the drought with abundant rain and was able to farm, put up hay, and tend to cattle.  The day he died; the first two calves of the season were born.

                Rod was born on November 9, 1953, at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Denver to parents Lewie Robert and Creola Lavena (Barta) Koepke.   He grew up on his family’s farm northeast of Deer Trail, Colorado.  He was baptized and later confirmed at Saron Lutheran Church in Strasburg, Colorado.   As an adult, Rod was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Limon, Colorado, and was a past council member.  

At a young age, because of his father’s illness, he and his brother took over the farm work, including milking cows and field work.  He always said he was “just a dumb kid” because he begged and begged to run the tractor, then he ended up having to do all the farming.  Rod remembered missing as much as a month of school in the fall to shock feed. Good times were spent fishing for catfish at local spots and the occasional trip to the mountains. Despite having to milk twice a day and keep up with farm work, Rod was able to run cross country and play baseball in high school.  All through Babe Ruth and high school baseball, Rod pitched and his brother caught on their teams.  In later years, he played men’s fast and slow pitch softball and for years coached his son’s and daughters’ teams, as well as coached elementary basketball for years.   Rod was exceptionally good a pitching horseshoes and it was a favorite pastime.  

                Rod and Kathleen both attended Deer Trail Public Schools. Rod graduated in 1971.  When she was 13 and he 15, they initiated their life-long journey together.  Rod lived far east of Deer Trail and Kathleen far west of Deer Trail, so he put a lot of miles on his parents’ old Ford Galaxy.  They dated all through high school and were married on December 1, 1973, at the Deer Trail Friends Church by Lutheran Pastor Leonard Fritchel.  Partners from the start, they worked on a ranch near Eads for two-and-a-half years and then south of Matheson on the Willard and Eris Dortch farm to dairy and farm and spend the rest of their lives.  When the Dortchs retired, Rod and Kathleen rented their dairy and farm ground.  They purchased their first ground in 1979. Then, in the early 1980’s, they began buying the place. And so together they built a life they loved. Rod also worked part-time at the Lasater Ranch in Matheson for 17 years.  Rod enjoyed putting up hay and for many years, summers were spent custom haying for local ranches.

 Despite getting started during those years of 13-14% interest rates, they made it, while also raising five wonderful children:  Jacob Dale was born on February 2, 1977; Kati Mae followed on May 20, 1979; Kyrei Ann on April 25, 1982; Kelsi Kathleen on July 5, 1984; and Kalli Lyn on May 24, 1988.   Rod loved his kids very much and was very proud of them.  He gave them good morals and values which led to strong work ethics and the skills to be confident and self-sufficient.  Rod and Kathleen were always involved with the school through his coaching, Booster club, and serving 11 years on the Big Sandy School Board.  They were also Elbert County 4-H leaders with the Rural Rustlers 4-H Club for over 30 years and were Elbert County Fair Dairy Superintendents for many of those years.

                Rod and Kathleen were blessed to be able to celebrate their 50th anniversary on December 1st, 2023.  Their life was each other, their kids and their families, and the place they loved with the livestock and crops on it.  Their kids hosted a wonderful day for them.  

                Rod was pre-deceased by his parents, grandparents, and in-laws, a brother and sister-in-law Daniel Lee and Norma Jean Koepke, and lots of cousins.  He is sorely missed by his wife Donna “Kathleen” (Lowell) Koepke, his children: Jake and Karrie Ann (Miller) of Matheson; Kati and Jeannoel Wilson of Pueblo; Kyrei and James Walter Zion of Elbert; Kelsi and Todd Richard Leach of Pueblo; and Kalli Koepke of Laramie, Wyoming; his 12 grandchildren: Allen Dale Koepke (Alexis Danielle Juhnke) and Cody Dale Koepke; Conner Riley, Talya Lynn, Brayden Taylor and Brenna Denise Wilson; Jaceen Lee and Kolby Walter Zion; Lane Richard, Wade Rodney, Saige Kathleen, and Hayden Reid Leach; brother Jerry Wayne (Betty Jean) Koepke; as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

                Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. at the Methodist Church in Limon, Colorado on Thursday, March 7, 2024, presided over by Pastor Bob Kuehner. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, from 6:00-8:00 P.M. at the Chapel in Love Funeral Home in Limon.  Rod will lay at rest in a favorite spot overlooking the place. Maybe God will have a 4440 John Deere tractor, a baler, a 4-wheeler, and some cows to keep Rod busy while he waits for Kathleen to join him.  

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Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Visitation

Thursday, March 7, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Limon Methodist Church

770 B. Avenue, Limon, 80828

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Funeral Service

Thursday, March 7, 2024

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

Limon Methodist Church

770 B. Avenue, Limon, 80828

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