Lt. Gary D. Hopps '60 Memorial Service

MU CHAPTER HONORS FALLEN HERO FROM VIETNAM ERA

On Sunday, September 30, 2012, Mu Chapter followed through on a very important piece of unfinished business.

On this day, Brother Gary D. Hopps '60 received heartfelt tributes from his Chapter and friends for heroic service to the United States and for the indelible mark his too-short life made on his fraternity and a grateful nation.

A page in the Chapter Eternal section provides details of Gary's life and service.

Gary Hopps Memorial Service

Gary Hopps' Mu Chapter Brothers & Classmates
(L-R) Kirk Brandon '60, Al Larimer '61, Don Gurney '59, Sandy Thomson '59  [vignette on table is memorial plaque and photos, and white roses from White Rose Ceremony], Dick Dusterberg '60, Ed Starinchak '58, Ed Frey '60.

Noting in the service that he led, Kirk Brandon said, "It's never too late to do the right thing." Kirk went on to explain that, although nearly 47 years had passed since, as a US Navy pilot, Gary's plane was shot down over North Vietnam, he first was classified only as "missing" and his MIA status did not change for many years. Sometime later, although his remains never were recovered, the US Navy changed his status to KIA. By then, regrettably, Gary's Mu-Sig Brothers had moved on to careers and families and simply lost track of the process... although many Brothers since have reported searching for and finding the "Lt. Gary Hopps" inscription on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.

So, "doing the right thing" was the very much the order of the day on that Memorial Service Sunday... held in the Sig House, a place Gary once called home.

The service brought together a broad representation of Gary's family, the Denison community, friends from both his childhood and Navy Flight School days, and his FraternityBrothers when he was a student; Brothers as current Active Chapter members. Among many moving remembrances, a dramataic centerpiece of the service was the ritual of the White Rose Ceremony in which 27 Sigma Chi Actives each, as a sign of deep respect for a lost Brother, placed a single white rose on the table in front of the handsome memorial plaque (now hanging in the Sig House Memory Room on permanent display). 

Attending the service and receiving special recognition were Denison's president and two DU vice presidents. Others traveled considerable distances to bear witness: Lt. Hopps' neice from San Diego (one of only two living relatives), Gary's former grade school buddy from New York, a fellow military pilot who trained with Gary at the same flight school together and played on the same military football team. A commemorative plaque was presented. Retired Denison Athletic Director and retired U.S. Navy Captain, Ted Barclay, detailed Gary's Naval history. A military trumpeter played Taps. And the moving White Rose Ceremony concluded the service... all transporting the more than 60 persons there to a deeper spiritual bond in memory of the man, Lt. Gary Hopps, our Mu-Sig Brother.

Altogether, the service provided a truly moving tributeboth for the measure of a man and the measure of the brotherhood that rose up to celebrate a life so honorably lived and sacrificed.

Copyright © 2017 Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi. All Rights Reserved.