Ronald Loyal Loper was born on April 12, 1936 in Garden City, Kansas, son of Ellis and Mamie Loper. He departed from this life on January 1, 2019 in Kabul Nursing Home in Cabool, Missouri, at the age of 82 with loved ones at his side.
As a youth, Ronnie’s family moved to Mountain Grove, Missouri, and started attending Greenwood Church of the Brethren. At District Church Camp, Ronnie met his first love, Janice Adkins. They were united in marriage on May 27, 1956, at Cabool Church of the Brethren. To this union, four daughters were born, Rebecca Jean, Cynthia Sue, Peggy Lee, and Sherry Jo. When Ronnie was asked what accomplishment he was most proud of, he quickly responded, “My four daughters!”
Ronnie enjoyed raising a wide variety of animals and gardening on his farm south of Mountain Grove. He also liked feeding the wild birds and built many birdhouses. Ronnie worked many years at Brown Shoe Company in Mountain Grove. He worked on the weekends for Janice’s grandfather, Maynard Neighbors, in his harness shop, Neighbors Harness Shop, in Cabool. When Maynard passed away, Ronnie purchased the shop, moved it to his home in Mountain Grove, and worked in it full time, renaming it Loper Neighbors Harness Shop. His girls would often help him in the shop. And later, as the grandchildren grew up, they too could be found helping Grandpa in the shop. Ronnie also drove a school bus for Mountain Grove Schools for a number of years.
After losing Janice to cancer, Ronnie found love again and married Elpha Sanders on March 29, 1991, at Cabool Church of the Brethren. They moved to Cabool and Ronnie moved the harness shop back to Cabool near his home.
Ronnie loved the outdoors and enjoyed traveling and camping in his RV, often visiting children and grandchildren. He would do his part to help keep the earth clean by picking up trash when he was walking, sometimes even stopping the car to pick up a can. Much family time was spent in the summer in local swimming holes and parks.
Ronnie was a devoted member of Cabool Church of the Brethren where he has served as a Sunday school teacher, trustee, moderator, and lifetime deacon. He also served on the board of Greenwood Cemetery and was a caretaker over the cemetery. His real passion was District Church Camp and he served there many years as camp manager. He loved children and they loved him.
Ronnie was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Janice Adkins; four brothers, Jim, Marvin, Fred, and Danny; one sister, Joan; and one daughter, Peggy Loper.
He is survived by his wife, Elpha of Cabool; three daughters, Beckie Koch and husband Rick of Milledgeville, Illinois, Cindy Sanders and husband Danny of Cabool, and Sherry Hensley of Springfield, Missouri; two stepsons, Steve Sanders and wife Lisa of Mountain Grove and Terry Sanders and wife Donna of Cabool; two brothers, Bob Loper and wife Phyllis of Garden City, Kansas, and Ellis Loper, Jr. and wife Reta of Springfield, Illinois; one sister, Pat Chandler and husband Dow of Muldrow, Oklahoma; thirteen grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren, other relatives, and friends.
Services were held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 4, 2019, at the funeral chapel with Rev. Sandra Bosserman officiating. Pallbearers were Timothy Sanders, Tyler Hensley, Joshua Hensley, Brandon Stark, Jonathon Sanders and Cory Sanders. Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery near Mountain Grove under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool.
Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers the family has requested contributions be made to Greenwood Cemetery c/o the funeral home.