Donald Rehkopf, 90

OPRF English teacher, WWII veteran

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Donald Caspar Rehkopf, 90, died on Feb. 20, 2013 in Ellensburg, Wash. He broke his hip last October while visiting his daughters and never fully recovered. Born on Oct. 18, 1922 in Petoskey, Mich., he grew-up in Berwyn and served in the Army Amphibian Engineers in the South Pacific during World War II. He received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from M.I.T. in 1948 and worked for the Cook County Highway Department before getting a master's degree in English literature in 1954 from the University of Chicago.

He taught English for more than 30 years at Oak Park and River Forest High School. He met his wife, JoAnn, in the oboe section of the Oak Park Civic Symphony and they married in 1953, settling in Elmwood Park. He loved Wordsworth, Keats and Thomas Traherne, and called himself an "adherer to the high promise of Christian religious faith."

Don Rehkopf is survived by his daughters, Jill Christy (Dean) Smith and Carrie Beth (John) Michel; and his grandchildren, Soren and Tacey Smith, Alec, Marcus and Luke Michel. He was preceded in death by his wife, JoAnn Green Rehkopf; his daughter, Tacey Louise Rehkopf; and his parents, Caspar Henderson and Catherine Louise (Densmore) Rehkopf.

A memorial service is planned for August.

Reader Comments

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Wendy Koelling Hendrickson from Ellicott City, MD  

Posted: September 14th, 2013 6:05 PM

Today I was playing in the sandbox with my granddaughter and your Dad came to my mind. So I search and learned of his passing. glad to know he was spending time with you. All the summer hours we spent playing in the sand. He will always be a part of who made me who I am. I still have my copy of his book which I look through from time to time. Thanks for sharing him with me and giving me those summer memories. Blue Canyon lives on in my mind. Wendy

Alisa from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2013 6:29 PM

May your family find peace & joy in the memories of a life well-lived. I so enjoyed the English Lit class at OPRFHS in 1982, due to Mr. Rehkopf's outstanding teaching abilities and his genuine care and concern for his students. How refreshing that he was so passionate about his subject and took such an interest in his students. RIP, Sir, and thank you!

Rosemary Stahlbusch (Wright) from Granbury, TX  

Posted: March 28th, 2013 7:10 PM

Don Rehkopf was my English teacher in 1963. I will never forget him. He affected my life in many positive ways. Beauty and simplicity guided him and made him special to everyone he touched.

Pauline Maher from Lewiston, ID 83501  

Posted: March 28th, 2013 2:39 PM

I am so sorry for your loss. In reading the obituary, I find that his birthday was two days after mine and he was born in the same town as my Mother, Esther Chichester Petit, and went to M I T as did my brother, Raymond Petit. I wish I had known him.

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