Leo Hoppa, Jr., passed away peacefully after a long battle with COPD, with family by his side on January 19, 2018 in Wausau, WI. Leo was born on Labor Day, September 5, 1933, in Marathon County, Town of Bevent (Shantytown), WI, the son of the late Leo, Sr. and Lillian (Zick) Hoppa.
Leo grew up on the family homestead farm, settled by his grandfather Basilius. As a son to second-generation Americans of Polish and German immigrants, he grew up bilingual and followed his family’s Polish traditions. He attended Polk School through the 8th grade. At the age of 15 he saved up for his first motorcycle, a 1937 Indian Scout. Two years later he drove his motorcycle to Idaho to work with his Uncle Emil as a lumberjack. He returned home in 1955 and was drafted into the military where he served in the Army's Tenth Mountain Division as a Small Arms Specialist stationed in Schoenberg, Germany.
Upon discharge from the Army, he returned home, received his GED and soon relocated to Milwaukee where he operated heavy machinery as part of the construction of one of the city’s first highway interchanges. Leo then worked in a foundry where he learned how to produce aluminum sand castings, eventually opening his own business.
Leo met Antoinette (Konkol), his wife and mother of seven children in 1959, marrying at St. Mary – Mount Carmel in Amherst, WI on August 27, 1960. They settled back near Leo’s homestead in Shantytown in 1965 and soon opened Northcentral Aluminum Foundry. He employed family and friends there for the next 40 years. He also became a private pilot and kept his plane near the airstrip he built behind the foundry.
Leo was an avid motorcyclist nearly his entire life, logging many miles on back country roads either solo or with one of his seven children holding tight. Besides all things aviation and motorcycles, he enjoyed farm auctions, spending time in the woods, going out for breakfast, seeing his many grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and the occasional polka. He enjoyed all forms of transportation from motorcycles, cars and pickups to airplanes, snowmobiles, ATV’s, bulldozers and even his favorite power chair. More than anything he loved to make people laugh and always had a joke no matter the situation.
In addition to his parents and wife, he is preceded in death by his sisters Mildred, Linda (Hintz), Caroline (Zdroik), Virginia (Lepak), and his brother Raymond. He is survived by his children Brian (Barb) Hoppa, Polonia, Carrie (Jeff) Kurszewski, Stevens Point, Darren (Allison) Hoppa, Chicago, Lori Lynn Hoppa, Oshkosh, Patti Hoppa, Rosholt, Kristin (David) Pisca, Phillips, and Mandi Hoppa, Onalaska. He has 10 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He is further survived by his brother Gilbert, and his sisters Florence (Pukrop), Sylvia (Pukrop), Jeanette (Bembenek), Irene (DeMeyer), Diane (Ganski), brothers in law Maynard Lepak, Robert Ganski and sister in law Delores Hoppa.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am Friday, January 26, 2018 at St. Ladislaus Catholic Church in Bevent. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Family and friends may call from 9:00-10:45am Friday morning.
The family would like to thank Ministry Home Care visiting nurses for their care and compassion and all the friends and neighbors who were so generous in lending him a helping hand in his final years while dealing with COPD.