Obituary For William E. Sopper | State College, PA

name of the deceased William E. Sopper
Age 94
date of death 11/28/2022
Date of birth 08/16/1928
funeral home Funeral home Koch

William E. Sopper, 94, of State College, PA, died Monday, November 28, 2022 at State College’s Juniper Village.

Born August 16, 1928 in Frieden, PA, he was the son of Edward and Elizabeth Sopper and brother of Jean Metz of Baltimore, MD and Gloria Tkach (deceased) of Bethlehem, PA. He married Marie Louise Bachman on December 29, 1951 in Allentown, PA, who preceded him in death.

He is survived by three daughters, Donna Thomas (Bob), Connie Gilbert (Allen) and Kathy Moore (Dave), nine grandchildren Laura Neel (Caleb), Julia Thomas, Kristin Zhang (Ruiqi), Nicole Regan (Kevin), Brittany Klebold (Collin ), Andrew Moore, Faith Moore, Matt Moore (Lexi), Joy Moore and nine great-grandchildren.

After graduating from Allentown High, he enlisted in the US Army and served in the US occupation force in Japan and later in the Korean War, where he achieved the rank of Master Sergeant. After completing active duty, he returned to Penn State University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and later a PhD from Yale University in forest hydrology. He served as a professor of forest hydrology at the Penn State Institute for Research on Land and Water Resources, wrote and contributed to several books, and had the opportunity to travel five continents during his tenure.

As a young man, he enjoyed volleyball and gymnastics, and while a student at Penn State he was a member of the PSU gymnastics team. In later years he was a member of Mt. Nittany Methodist Church and an avid participant in a local bocce ball group. A loving, generous, family-oriented father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he particularly enjoyed many family trips to Virginia Beach and the Hershey Ice Show. He also enjoyed fishing, crabbing, and playing cards and games with family and friends.

After retirement, he enjoyed winters in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where he made many wonderful new friends and developed a cherished friendship with the Schofield/Matheson family of Nova Scotia. He was famous within his family for his fishtail hat, unlit “pappy cigar,” ubiquitous wolf jacket, love of lobster, and favorite “tastycake breakfast.” His favorite pastime was spending time with his family and he leaves a legacy of love and encouragement. He will be greatly missed and will never be forgotten.

Arrangements are overseen by the Koch Funeral Home, State College. You can send condolences online at

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