Growing Older: Reader Essay by John Martens Koepcke

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

W2017_GrowingOlderJohnMartensKoepcke_Inline300 My letter of acceptance to the College of Mechanical Engineering in 1952 was a surprise, since I lacked high school physics and chemistry. Before starting the last year of the five-year curriculum, I married Bev. After working for two major corporations and having a family with three children, I founded a heating and air conditioning contracting company in 1967 that continues today. When my wife died of cancer, I retired and soon after began to do design engineering consultant work.

At about that same time, I attended a grief support group and met my present wife, Carol, who had lost her husband to cancer. My introduction to her family was on a deer-hunting weekend at their family farm where she had grown up near Fergus Falls. When we married we bought the farm, established in 1917 by her grandparents, and moved into the 1926 farmhouse.

Over the last 20 years we have remodeled the house, added a deck and gazebo, tried to restore a 1933 classic dairy barn, built a pole barn and shop, and raised and cared for five horses. We are active in our community, church, and choir. I sing with a barbershop chorus, play bridge regularly, learned the art of pencil sketching, and served as a director of our rural electric cooperative.

Carol and I are enjoying our five married children and 16 grandchildren, who bring so much to our lives. As I approach 84 I feel that getting older is just another opportunity to enjoy a good life with family, friends, and farm living.

- John Martens Koepcke (B.M.E. ’57), Erhard

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