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KRMC Hospice throws birthday party for 100-year-old Kingman resident

 

KINGMAN - Monday Feb. 4, KRMC Hospice brought balloons, presents and a huge birthday cake to Desert Highlands Care Center (DHCC) to celebrate Herman Leppink’s 100th birthday.

The festivities were held in a dining area where DHCC staff and residents, along with some hospice staff and Leppink’s daughter gathered awaiting Leppink’s arrival to the room. As Leppink was brought in, via a wheelchair, the attendees applauded him, and all joined in singing happy birthday.

Leppink opened a few gifts while smiling the entire time. After cutting the cake, a staff member asked Leppink if he was ready to try the cake, and Leppink gave a robust “yes” to that question. Many gathered around him with a bit of small talk. One in attendance was Cecelia Clouser, volunteer services manager for KRMC Hopsice, who wanting to keep the focus on Leppink said briefly, “We are honoring and celebrating Herman’s 100th birthday.”

Also attending, was Denny Colvig, KRMC chaplin who said about Leppink, “He always has a good attitude. He has served our nation in the U.S. Army during WWII, so we appreciate him, and it’s a joy to be around him.”

Leppink, who was born on Feb. 5, 1919 in Pine City, Minnesota has quite a history. Early in his life, he moved with his family to Hedgesville, Montana. Leppink’s daughter, Lori Willey said of Hedgesville, “It doesn’t exist anymore. It had a fire and everything was torn down.” Willey continued, “It was really a rural-ranching kind of area.”

In this small town, Leppink graduated valedictorian from high school with only four other students in the graduating class. He is a veteran of WWII, and served in the South Pacific in New Guinea and Australia. After the army, he went to college on a GI bill and became a mechanical engineer. He married Bette Lee McCallum in 1953, who passed away in 1997. Soon after his marriage, he landed a job with Boeing and moved to Seattle where he lived most of his life. He and Bette Lee had one daughter, Lori, and for the last seven years, Leppink has lived in Kingman.

Willey said of her father, “He was a good dad, and he is a very good person.” She laughingly added, “He’s your typical engineer. He was always an outdoors person, doing a lot of hunting, fishing, and boating.”

Willey continued about her father, “He liked to do carpentry work. He turned his garage into a utility workshop, and built a carport and storage area onto his house. His father was a furniture maker in Grand Rapids, and Grand Rapids was famous for their furniture, so he kind of got that background.”

There was a turnout of about 25 people celebrating this special birthday party and tribute to Leppink. And about Lepppink, Chaplin Denny added, “He is a very wonderful man, so we appreciate him. We might bless him, but he also blesses us tremendously. We are thankful for that.”

After the party celebration, Willey added, “My dad really liked the party.”

- Linda McMahon

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