Arliss Kopren

Jean Kopren

April 14, 1934 - December 2, 2019
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Arliss Jean Kopren was born April 14, 1934, in Hettinger, ND. Her parents were Ike and Claire (White) John and Harold Coe. She spent her early years on the family farm in Maltby. She attended Strool Grade School and graduated from Bison High School. She spent many hours in her teens waitressing at her mother’s café in Prairie City. Jean earned her teaching certificate from Black Hills State University. Her mother had taught Jean how to pilot an airplane so after receiving her pilot’s license, the plane became her main mode of transportation back and forth to college.
Jean was united in marriage to the love of her life, Merle Kopren on May 29, 1954, at high noon at the Homme Lutheran Church in Prairie City. The newly married couple made their home in Wichita, KS, where Merle was stationed in the Air Force. They made wonderful friends during this time but Jean was lonely for her country roots and longed to be back in South Dakota. Following Merle’s discharge, they moved to the family farm south of Bison. Later they purchased a farm/ranch 16 miles south of Prairie City, where they started their family. They eventually built their own home with the help of neighbor and friend, Lee Simon. They were blessed with 4 children, Merlene, Willis, Debra and Ross.
Jean touched many young lives as she continued to teach for 32 years at numerous rural schools in Perkins County and many years as the 3rd grade teacher in Bison, SD. She put a lot of miles on her vehicles and always checked the condition of the roads with her unannounced, signature slam on the brakes to check for ice. She spent several summers in Spearfish when her family was young, taking classes to earn her 4-year teaching degree. Merle and Jean moved to Sturgis in 1996. Here, they spent their retirement enjoying family and friends and countless games of cards and socializing. Jean was a wonderful caregiver to her husband, Merle, through his failing health. Her optimistic attitude and never-ending spunk attributed to Merle’s longevity.
Jean will be remembered as a wonderful cook and for her hospitality to all. She loved to garden, read, play cards and watch Hallmark movies. She was known for her quick phone calls to family-just to check in. Jean worked hard to stay current with technology so she could enjoy communicating with her family. Jean loved to Facetime and the call would usually be full of giggling as she tried to get the camera to not face the carpet. While raising her family, she was very involved and supportive of 4-H and rodeo and was honored this summer as Perkins County Friend of the Fair. Her greatest love in life was spending time with her family. She was so proud of her children and grandchildren and relished every minute she could spend with them. Her kindness, generosity, ability to laugh at herself and her outlook on life will never be forgotten. Merle and Jean were married for 62 years and were great role-models to their family of what love and devotion looks like.
Jean was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church, ECLA Rachel Circle and Eastern Star.
Arliss Jean Kopren, 85, of Sturgis, died December 2, 2019, at Sturgis Regional Hospital.
Jean will be forever cherished by her four children, Merlene (Dale) Palczweski, Reeder, ND, Willis (Cindy) Kopren, Prairie City, SD, Debra (Terry) McPherson, Piedmont, SD, and Ross (Beverly) Kopren, Prairie City, SD; grandchildren include, Nathan (Lynae) Palczewski, John (Tessa) Palczewski, Wade (Jenny) Kopren, Randy (Heidi) Kopren, Michael (Maegen) McPherson, Misty and Marty McPherson, Kyle (Amanda) Kopren, Lane (Shauna) Kopren and Tessa Kopren; twelve great-grandchildren; brother, Vernon Coe; sisters-in-law, Cleo (Wally) Miller, and Darlyne Kopren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband, Merle; her parents; sister, Loretta Gosselin; brother, Pat John; and great-grandson, Ray Kopren.
Committal services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday, December 13, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis. Family and friends may gather at Kinkade Funeral Chapel prior to leaving for the cemetery.
Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, December 13, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, December 14, 2019, at Grace Lutheran Church in Sturgis with Pastor Kris Garlick officiating.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    December 13, 2019 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    December 13, 2019 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Kinkade Funeral Chapel
    1235 Junction Ave.
    Sturgis, SD 57785
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Memorial Service

    December 14, 2019 | 1:00pm
    December 14, 2019 1:00pm
    Grace Lutheran Church
    1061 Sherman Street
    Sturgis, SD 57785
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Pastor Kris Garlick
  • Interment

    December 13, 2019 | 2:30pm
    December 13, 2019 2:30pm
    Black Hills National Cemetery
    20901 Pleasant Valley Drive
    Sturgis, SD 57785
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Memorial Program

We have provided a digital copy (PDF) of the Memorial Program that we supply at the time of the service. To Download this file please click the filename below. Jean Kopren - Memorial Program


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Riley, Jamie & Jaley sent flowers to the family of Jean Kopren.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 02:42pm
Dale, Merlene, and families; Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. God bless you all.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 07:15pm
To my favorite 4th Grade Teacher. Sincerely,
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Riley, Jamie & Jaley

Posted at 07:48pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are thinking of you.
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Riley, Jamie & Jaley purchased flowers for the family of Jean Kopren. Send Flowers


Marilyn Hanson

Posted at 06:04pm
My deepest sympathy to Jean's family. Jean taught both my children, David & Maria, she was such a good teacher.
I remember times when we would have neighborhood gatherings. "fun times" . Jean will be missed.

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