Curtis Ray Hoppe, age 76 of Crookston, Minnesota, passed away on May 24, 2022, surrounded by family in his home. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Norma Jean (Ricard); siblings: Loren (Blas Valero), David (Ida), and Linda (Jim) Erickson; brother-in-law, Wayne Schenck; children: Laura (Dan) Haack, Jennifer (Ryan) McLean, and Matthew (Erin) Hoppe; and grandchildren: Jordan Haack, Gabrielle Haack, Lydia Haack, Carson Haack, Tristan Hoppe, and Logan Hoppe, and Conor (Rebecca) McLean and Makenna McLean. He is preceded in death by his father, Raymond Hoppe, mother, Jean (Johnson) Hoppe, and sister, Carolyn Schenck.
Curt’s kids would say they won the lottery in the dad department, with a father who was eternally patient, positive, kind, and gentle. His blueberry pancakes on Sunday mornings were second to none, and he seemed to understand how all things work, fixing anything we brought his way. He loved his family and said at the end of his life that he “had a good run.” He also loved his Savior and lived life in a way that consistently demonstrated his faith.
Curt graduated from Crookston Central High School in 1963 and from Moorhead State in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math. He married his sweetheart, Norma Jean Ricard, on July 29, 1967, at St. Anne’s Church in Crookston. The newlyweds moved to East Grand Forks where Curt began his teaching career as a junior high earth science teacher and where they started their family. Their first child was born in 1968, and two years later, the couple with a toddler in tow, hit the road for Norman, Oklahoma where Curt completed a master’s degree in earth science from the University of Oklahoma in 1971. With a graduate degree in hand, the couple returned north to Grand Forks, where Curt resumed his teaching career across the river in EGF, farming on weekends and during the summers. He also braved the road as a driver’s ed instructor for over a decade, which certainly kept his three children on their toes when they were learning to drive. In 1979, he left the classroom and moved his now family of five to Crookston where he started farming full time until he retired in 2019 due to his cancer diagnosis. Curt was a well-respected farmer from whom others in the community sought advice and guidance. His hired hands hailed him as the best boss they ever had, and his kids and grandkids who were lucky enough to help during harvest wholeheartedly agree. He was born on farm and loved every single minute of raising wheat, soybeans, and sugar beets in the Red River Valley.
Curt and Norma were two peas in a pod and enjoyed conquering countless projects together, including gardening, quilting, and binge-watching Netflix. Despite Curt’s quiet demeanor, he had an adventurous spirit and took up downhill skiing in his forties (brave!). He enjoyed taking his family on ski trips to Montana and in later years his wife to faraway lands like Spain, New Zealand, and Peru. He simply adored being a grandpa to his eight grandkids and could often be found cheering them on from the bleachers at sporting events or live streaming games from his easy chair. Curt’s big smile matched his big heart for taking care of others and making sure everyone else was comfortable. He literally never complained, not even during seven weeks of intense radiation and chemotherapy, not after three years of traveling to the Mayo Clinic every few months for scans and further radiation, and not even after becoming paralyzed by spinal tumors. He was a quiet leader who led with integrity by example and action and will be missed dearly by his family, friends, and neighbors.
The memorial service for Curtis Ray Hoppe will be held at 11:00 am, Thursday, July 21, 2022, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Crookston with The Rev. Steve Bohler, officiating. Visitation with the family will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home on Wednesday from 5-7 pm, with a prayer service and the sharing of memories at 7 pm, and will continue at the Church for one hour prior to the funeral on Thursday. Both services will be live streamed by going to Curt’s obituary page at www.stenshoelhouske.com and clicking on the prompt to view. Burial will be at the Oakdale Cemetery, Crookston.
In lieu of flowers please consider a memorial in Curt’s name to The Hope Lodge, Hospice of the Red River Valley, or The Leadership Engagement Opportunity (LEO) Fund, a non-profit supporting child education, and farming skills in Cali, Colombia.