James Kopp believed in the value of community service, even until the end of his life, said his daughter, Michelle Rakoczy.
“He was involved in everything,” she said. “He had stage 4 cancer for 17 months, and was involved until the end.”
James Kirby Kopp, 68, of Ogden Dunes, died May 31. He was president of PK Engineering. He was on the Save the Beach council and served as volunteer Fire Chief, Town Board President, Porter County Auditor and Water Commissioner.
He loved to play Santa Claus and had up to a dozen engagements every season, his daughter said. He would appear as Santa at a variety of nursing homes and nursery schools.
“He was very jovial and was known for his laugh,” she said. “He loved to see the excitement of the kids and he listened to them for as long as possible.”
In some instances, he would give gift cards to the children’s parents to help them fulfill their kids’ Christmas requests.
He loved boating and was passionate about the Great Lakes and their conservation.
Kopp believed in the importance of volunteerism and serving one's community.
“He always wanted to improve things and make them better for people,” she said. “If someone needs help, you help them and you don’t talk about it.”
He lived his life with a strong work ethic and a positive attitude.
“He had a great enthusiasm and an outgoing personality,” she said. “He had a hearty, mischievous Santa Claus laugh.”