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Phillip M. Goplen — Zumbrota

November 20, 2018 GMT

Phillip M. Goplen, age 97, of Zumbrota, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, at Pine Haven Care Center in Pine Island.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at United Redeemer Lutheran Church, with the Rev. Dr. Marggi J. Pleiss-Sippola officiating. A one hour visitation will be held prior to the service Wednesday at the church. Burial will be in the Zumbrota Cemetery with military honors. Arrangements were made with Mahn Family Funeral Home-Larson Chapel.

Phillip Monroe Goplen was born on June 18, 1921, to Martin and Marie (Greseth) Goplen in Roscoe Center. He attended and graduated from Wanamingo High School in 1940 and entered the Army Air Corps. Phil had a long and successful career in the Air Force, retiring in 1965 with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He married Elsie Buvinghausen on Dec. 4, 1943, in Big Spring, Texas.


After retiring from the Air Force, Phil worked at Gopher Aviation in Rochester as a pilot/mechanic.

After several years he moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and worked for Elliot Beach Craft in Eden Prairie, Minn. After retiring in the late 1970s, they moved to Zumbrota, where he volunteered as an EMT on the Zumbrota Ambulance. Phil also ran a gun shop and had a wood working shop. Phil was also an active member of the United Redeemer Lutheran Church. Phil and Elsie were hospice volunteers for many years.

Phil enjoyed having coffee with friends, golfing, playing Bridge, taking his grandchildren to demolition derbies, and especially spending time with his wife and family.

Phil is survived by his son, Larry (Kristine) Goplen; grandchildren, Jennifer (LaMont) Starch, Nate (Tricia) Goplen, Nick Goplen, and Nolan (Jennifer) Goplen; nine great-grandchildren, Tyler, Xander, Andrew, Rachel, Haley, Isaac, McKenna, Eli, and Ila; five siblings, Ruby (Lester) Johnson, Francis Goplen, Edith Hollibaugh, Maynard Goplen, and Arly Goplen; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Phil was preceded in death by his loving wife of 71 years, Elsie; son, Ronald Goplen; brother, Sherman Goplen; sisters-in-law, Louise Goplen, and Edith Goplen; and brother-in-law, Homer ‘Bud’ Hollibaugh.

Memorials preferred to Mayo Clinic for cancer research or United Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Special thanks and appreciation to Pine Haven Care Center and Heartland Hospice for the love and care he received.

Condolences may be left for the family online at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.