'A True Gentleman': Ferndale Mourns Loss of Longtime Resident and Volunteer
Dennis Hoeppner, 72, died early Monday morning.
The community is mourning the loss of a longtime Ferndale resident known for his devotion to his wife and family, his storytelling and manners and his willingness to do "anything for anyone."
Dennis Hoeppner died at his home at 5:30 a.m. Monday. He was 72.
Heoeppner was diagnosed with cancer in the past and learned in the fall that his condition was worsening, said former Ferndale mayor Craig Covey, a friend of Hoeppner's.
"Dennis was just so special," said Ferndale Seniors President Jeannie Davis. "He always had a story to tell there was always a sparkle in his eye."
Hoeppner and his wife, Marty Hoeppner, had been involved with the seniors group for the past eight or nine years, helping with Meals on Wheels and other programs.
First and foremost, Hoeppner was a loving husband, Davis said. "He was very, very, very devoted to his wife," she said.
Those who knew him also said he was a gentleman. "Somebody commented today that, you know, he was always a true gentleman," Davis said. "He would stand when you came in the room, he would open the door."
After retiring from his longtime job with Ford Motor Company, Hoeppner started getting more involved in the community, Covey said.
"Rather than quietly retiring and going south and siting in the sun or playing golf he devoted a huge amount of time to the community, especially the seniors group," he said. "He just was a people-oriented person."
Hoeppner was a delegate for the Oakland County Democratic Party and frequently spoke at Ferndale City Council meetings. He had been named Ferndale's Citizen of the Year in 2012, Senior Citizen of the Year in 2008 and he and his wife were named King and Queen of the State Fair in 2007.
You could find Hoeppner at many community events, from the Ferndale Blues Festival to the Woodward Dream Cruise, volunteering in some way.
Hoeppner was Covey's "number one volunteer" on his political campaigns and was always eager to help, Covey said.
There is a running joke that he "went through a pair of socks" in one day going door-to-door delivering so much literature for Covey.
In return, Covey gave him a six-pack of socks as a gift at his victory party, Davis recalled.
Hoeppner also loved gossip, Davis said. "His eyes would really light up and he'd motion me at a meeting - 'Come here, come here,'" she laughed.
Davis said she has hosted many fundraising events in her backyard and she could always count on Hoeppner to show up early to help decorate and get ready. "He was always at the fundraisers," she said.
He will be very missed by many, Davis said. "Everybody I called today cried," she said, noting that the group has had three other deaths this month. "Nobody was as upset as they were today to get this call. Everybody liked Dennis."
Jill Manchik, Ferndale's recreation director, knew Hoeppner well and said he and his wife were always the first ones to sign up for any volunteer opportunity. "They would drop everything," she said.
"He would do anything for anyone," Manchik said.
Dennis and Marty Hoeppner shared many stories and memories in this recent interview with the Ferndale 115 News, published on Jan. 21.
Hoeppner is survived by his wife, his children Denise (William) Cox, Katherine Welsh and Michael (Tamara); his brother, Douglas (Joan); five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Did you know Dennis Hoeppner? Share your memories in the comments section below.