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Fred Ropkey has reportedly passed...
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:07 pm
Post subject: Fred Ropkey has reportedly passed...

Word comes that apparently, Mr. Ropkey has passed. Notice at the museum website indicates that the museum is closed until at least Nov. 18. I don't have anything official, but source is considered reliable. Anyone with additional information is welcome to share it.
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Location: western Ohio
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:28 pm
Post subject: Re: Fred Ropkey has reportedly passed...

Yes, unfortunately it's true. Here is some info on his services I received.

Calling - The Ropkey Armor Museum, 5649 E. 150 North, Crawfordsville. 3-7PM, Thursday, 14 November.

Calling - Crown Hill Cemetery, 700 W 38th St., Indianapolis. 11AM-1PM, Saturday, 16 November.

Memorial Service - Crown Hill Cemetery. 1PM, Saturday, 16 November.

Mike Haines
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:28 pm
Post subject: Re: Fred Ropkey has reportedly passed...

He will be sadly missed. Crying or Very sad

He is very kind person whom I am glad I had the opportunity to meet and speak with.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:48 am
Post subject: Re: Fred Ropkey has reportedly passed...

Here is a nice tribute from an Indianapolis TV station

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:22 am
Post subject: Re: Fred Ropkey has reportedly passed...

And an article in the Indianapolis Star


A farewell with arms
Fred Ropkey collected the armaments of war, and that's where he wanted his friends and comrades to pay their last respects
Nov. 15, 2013

Written by
Robert King

CRAWFORDSVILLE — There’s absolutely no doubt that Fred Ropkey Jr. would have wanted it this way.

The 84-year-old former Marine, whose collection of military armaments included 23 tanks and track vehicles, four airplanes, a helicopter and a mini-submarine, wasn’t big on funerals, but he appreciated his friends and his big guns.

So after he died Nov. 7 after a bout with cancer, the only place fitting for his calling was the Ropkey Armor Museum, the warehouse of restored artifacts of war that he put together over a lifetime and, for the past decade, displayed behind his country home in rural Montgomery County.

The hundreds of visitors who came out to his 60-acre homestead parked their vehicles between and around pieces of field artillery and naval guns that seemingly point in every direction.

Bouquets of fresh lillies and daisies sat nestled atop a bulky troop carrier, an arrangement of flowers and potted plants atop a Japanese tank.

The receiving line, which featured a cast of veterans from each branch of the military and an alphabet soup of vets organizations, queued up between rows of tanks, jeeps, military ambulances and heavy trucks, but stopped short of the hangar containing the Huey helicopter, the submarine, the experimental vertical takeoff jet and the river patrol boat.

“He would have been pleased,” said Lani Ropkey, his widow. “This room represents the essence of Fred. This is what Fred was all about.”

Ropkey earned the money to amass such a collection as the CEO of Ropkey Graphics, which evolved from the printing business founded by his grandfather. But his love for the artifacts of combat dated back to his childhood.

As an 8-year-old , he acquired a Civil War pistol and a sword, said John “Skip” Warvel, Ropkey’s longtime friend and curator of the museum. He read up on the stuff, collected new pieces and entertained his parents’ dinner guests with tours of his room.

As a teen during World War II, he became skillful at identifying the silhouettes of military aircraft.

As a man, Ropkey joined the Marines and was soon selected for Officer Candidate School. While that was a reward for his abilities, it also diverted him from going to Korea with the men who enlisted with him, many of whom died at the Chosin Reservoir.

When Ropkey left the military, his collection began to grow. To cope with the death of his first wife, he bought a halftrack truck. Soon, he added a scout car, and then a tank. Often, Warvel said, he acquired items that were rusted or battered by war, often abandoned, and the two men worked to restore them to battle-ready condition — or at least the appearance of it.

The trick, of course, was that the big guns on the tanks had been permanently disabled, the cache of weapons pointing from turrets and rear windows and side doors were all replicas. The assorted ammunition, including shells standing five feet tall, naval dive bombs and rocket propelled grenades, all had the explosives removed long ago.

What’s still potent — and fully intact — is the Ropkey Armor Museum’s ability to evoke memories for those folks who turned out to pay their respects.

John M. Quinn, an 80-year-old veteran of the Korean War, looked at a deep forest green 2½-ton truck parked along the receiving line and saw his ride to salvation from December 1950.

American and allied troops had pushed so far north they started encountering Chinese troops. The allies decided to pull back.

Quinn, then an 18-year-old airman, watched for hours as tank after tank, truck after truck, rolled by on the road heading south. Finally, with everyone past, his commander told Quinn to get in the 2½-ton truck and start driving. He was last in line.

As he stood in Ropkey’s museum Thursday night, Quinn patted the hood of the truck, gave thanks that it had had plenty of gas for the daylong evacuation, and that its engine hadn’t given out as the Chinese followed from behind.

The value of Ropkey’s collection is hard to estimate — Warvel’s best guess is somewhere between $2 million and $20 million. But to people like Quinn, it is “immeasurable.”

“These pieces of equipment,” he said, “meant life or death.”

Around the museum, as old warriors waited to pay their respects or even after they had, such reminiscences were common. “That,” Warvel said of the memory-reviving ability of the museum, “happened time and again.”

It’s a big part of the reason why Ropkey put together the museum and why he never charged admission, although donations were welcome.

“Mr. Ropkey did this for veterans,” Warvel said.

The museum got its start in 1982 on the Northwestside . In 2004, the Ropkeys moved just outside of Crawfordsville and the additional room enabled the construction of the warehouse-like structures that now shelter the armaments.

Even in a place a couple of miles from I-74, the museum manages to attract about 5,000 to 6,000 visitors a year, most being veterans and school children. The best days, Warvel said, are when the two collide in the museum .

Ropkey’s collection also got some exposure through movies and television. He provided tanks for the television series “Amerika” and movies such as “The Blues Brothers” and “Tank.” The latter starred a young James Garner, whose face appeared in several of the memorial pictures rotating on a television in the museum Thursday. Garner was smiling from atop a tank, with a well-pleased Ropkey standing nearby.

Ropkey’s wife said the museum will remain open. To do so, it may need to reach out in search of funding. But she wants to keep it going as a tribute to her husband.

“It’s one man’s vision. It’s one man’s dream,” she said. “I used to say this was Fred’s field of dreams ... in a cornfield in Crawfordsville.”

One final celebration of Ropkey’s life is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Crown Hill Funeral Home.
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