SANTA FE SPRINGS – Herbert Charles Goepel, also known among his family as “Tud”, passed away peacefully on Feb. 13 at age 99. He was born on Aug. 8, 1915, in Crystal Lake. Iowa, and was the ninth of 10 children born to local farm owners Charles and Ethel Mills Goepel.
Like many youth in those days, Herb grew up on the family farm, learning to handle the heavy work and long hours needed to raise crops and livestock.
He lost an eye at the age of 17 while working on a car, yet he never used that as an excuse. He worked for his brother-in-law and started to learn the carpentry trade.
Herb met his wife, Florence, in Garner, Iowa, in 1940. They spent their courting days dancing at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, and attending movies. They married in 1943 in Wichita, Kansas, where Florence worked for Beech Aircraft as a riveter on various military aircraft during World War II. He and Florence then moved to Miami Beach, Florida, where he was stationed while serving in the Army Air Corps for the duration of the war.
After the war, they lived in various cities but eventually ended up in Southern California with Florence’s best friend from Iowa, Mae Studer.
After the war, Florence and Tud, together with Mae, resided in Cleveland before finally settling in the Los Angeles area in 1946. They initially stayed with Florence’s brother and sister-in-law, John and Ruth Burke, in Maywood. During this time, Florence worked at Sears Department Store in Los Angeles, and Tud started a long career as a union carpenter.
Shortly afterward they purchased a home in Maywood where their first son, Tom, was born in 1952. They then moved to Santa Fe Springs, which became their home for more than 60 years. Their second son, Jim, was born in 1957.
From the late 1940s until his retirement, Tud worked on numerous construction projects across the Los Angeles area, mostly for M.J. Brock and Sons. He helped frame the large built-in clock at the Glendale Galleria when it was originally constructed. Tud received a gold Rolex watch upon his retirement after 35 years with Brock.
He volunteered his handyman skills for the priests at the rectory of their parish church St. Pius X. After retirement, Herb and Florence traveled extensively, including annual summer driving trips to visit family in Iowa, and a trip to the Tipperary area of Ireland, where Florence’s family originated.
Herb was preceded in death by his parents as well as his sisters Gladys, Gretta, Hazel, Edna, and Jean, and brothers, Willard, Anton, and Mick. He lost his wife, Florence, nearly three years ago to the day.
He is survived by his son, Tom, and wife Anne; and son, Jim, and wife Gilien; granddaughter, Elayna; step-grandson, Jonathan Hrabko, Mae Studer Haiden’s two daughters, Tud’s god-daughters Ann Haiden, Mary Skill and husband Cameron; and god-granddaughters Michelle and Elizabeth Skill.
He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, including Diane Trewin from the Bay Area, as well as grand-nieces and grand-nephews and other relatives across the United States. He was especially close to his niece Ramona and nephew Cal who live in Arizona.
Published: March 5, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 47