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March 01, 1931 - September 26, 2013
ARLYN FLOYD TOPPERT, 82, of Prophetstown, IL, died Thursday, September 26, 2013 at his home.
Arlyn was born March 1, 1931, at the Jane Lamb Hospital in Clinton, IA, to Floyd and Edna A. (Meier) Toppert. He grew up on various farms in the Prophetstown area, including the Woodworth Bluff area and the Leon community. After the death of his father in 1932, Arlyn and his mother moved to a 40-acre farm that belonged to his grandparents, Frank and Maretta (Wildman) Meier, just south of Prophetstown, located on Highway 78. His mother remarried Warren Weber and the family then lived on a farm located on the Prophetstown-Rock Falls Blacktop. A few years later they moved to a farm in Sandy Town. In 1944, his family moved to his step-father’s parents farm, Samuel and Alix (Williamson) Weber. The “Weber-Toppert” farm is located on the Henry and Whiteside County border, 7 miles south of Prophetstown off of Highway 78. He attended various schools in the Prophetstown area, including 1st and 2nd grade at Jackson Street School, third through eighth grade at Pleasant View Grade School located in the areas of Sandy Town and Portland. He graduated from Prophetstown High School in 1948 and went on to college at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1954. He married Betty J. Immel on October 23, 1955 in Prophetstown. She died October 26, 2010.
While at Bradley, Arlyn spent 4 years in the ROTC and was commissioned as an officer in June of 1954. He began active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant in August 1954. Arlyn started his Air Force career by attending pilot training, from Sept. 1954 to May of 1955, at Spence Air Force base in Moultre, GA. This was followed by jet pilot training at Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, TX from May to Sept. of 1955; he graduated first in his class. After his training he moved to Fairchild Air Force base in Spokane, WA. He and his family were stationed at numerous Air Force Bases, including Hunter AFB in Savannah, GA (this included a 90 day stay in Morocco, Africa); Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, SD; Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX; Pease AFB in Portsmouth, NH; Castle AFB in Merced, CA; and Dyess AFB in Abilene, TX. He flew B-36’s, B-47s and B-52 bombers, and served in the Vietnam War flying hundreds of missions over Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. He and his crew were recognized by the USAF for flying the historic 1,000th B-52 combat sortie of the Vietnam War. Throughout much of his career Arlyn spent one week a month on nuclear ground alert, requiring he and his crew to be ready to launch a nuclear weapon loaded B-52 on a Cold War mission within minutes of notification. He later served as the 337th Bombardment Squadron Commander at Dyess AFB, where he retired at the rank of Lt. Colonel after 21 years. After his retirement in 1975, he and the family moved back home to Prophetstown and he began his second career farming, returning to the “Weber-Toppert” farm of his youth. He actively farmed until 2012.
Arlyn was a member of the American Legion Post #1191,in Hooppole, IL. He enjoyed softball, bowling, golfing, fishing and hunting. In his later years he was an avid reader, frequenting the Henry C. Adams Memorial Library weekly.
Survivors include one daughter, Bethany (John Butemeyer, Ph.D.) Toppert, Ph.D of Grapevine, TX; three sons, Mark (Jane) Toppert of Mullin, TX, Colonel Kent (Gaye) Toppert of New Braunfels, TX and Lt. Colonel Gary (Marcy) Toppert of Abilene TX; eleven grandchildren, Allie and Andrew Butemeyer, Rachel (Clint) Bentley, Jessica and Paige Toppert, Lindsay (Kevin) Lammers and Travis Toppert, Sarah, Austin, Grace and Rebecca Toppert; one sister, Mrs. Charlene (Weber) Hanson of Prophetstown, IL.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty; his parents, Floyd and Edna; his step-father, Warren Weber.
FUNERAL SERVICE: 11:00 AM Service Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Leon United Methodist Church – Prophetstown, IL
VISITATION: 10:00 AM until the time of the service on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Leon United Methodist Church – Prophetstown, IL
OFFICIATING: Pastor Mark Curtis – Pastor of the Leon United Methodist Church – Prophetstown, IL
GATHERING OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM Friday, October 4, 2013 at the Bosma-Gibson Funeral Home
INTERMENT: Leon Cemetery – Prophetstown, IL
A memorial has been established by the family.