Milton A. Hopkins (Milt) passed away Friday, June 1, 2001, at the Veterans Hospital, Boise, following a long battle with a series of ailments.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, at Sunrise Christian Church, Ontario, Ore. Graveside service to follow at New Plymouth, Idaho.
Milton was born Nov. 15, 1922, at Raymond, Ala., the son of William and Annie Hopkins. He grew up during the lean years of the Great Depression surviving on homegrown food, strong family values, and a lot of love. In his late teens he embarked on his journey to adulthood by joining the Civilian Conservation Corps and contributing to the great works of that organization. Mounting international hostilities in the early 1940s fueled the flames of Milton’s patriotic fire and compelled him to join the U.S. Marine Corps. As a member of the elite Marine Raiders he participated in some of the fiercest fighting in World War II during that organization’s campaign in numerous islands in the South Pacific. Wounded twice in combat, he was decorated with the prestigious Purple Heart Medal.
Following the war Milton returned home to Alabama and pursued studies at the University of Alabama. His love of country would not let him stay a civilian long, however, so he joined the newly formed U.S. Air Force in 1946. His distinguished career in the Air Force included participation in the Korean War and Vietnam conflict. He attained the highest enlisted rank, chief master sergeant, and was one of three nominees for appointment as the top non-commissioned officer of the entire U.S. Air Force. While in the Air Force and stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane, Wash., Milton met and married his lifetime companion Thelma M. (Maxine).
A tour of duty at Mountain Home Air Force Base fostered a love for Idaho and the desire to eventually retire there.
Retiring from the Air Force in 1968 at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Milton returned to the Pacific Northwest. He continued his service to country, working for county and federal governments culminating with his retirement from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1981 at Burns, Ore. Milton and Maxine later moved back to Idaho, finally settling in Fruitland.
Milton was a strong Christian and active member of Sunrise Christian Church, Ontario, Ore. He held the teachings of Christ strongly to his heart and his everyday walk through life provided a living testament to biblical principle. Milt knew no strangers and everyone who met this kind, gentle man has had their lives touched in some way.
Milton is survived by his loving wife, Maxine; twin sister, Mildred and husband, Denson Hulsey of Hueytown, Ala.; devoted children – daughter, Andrea Bybee and Joel Westbrook of Caldwell, daughter, Sharon and Jerry Benzie of Weiser, son, Roger and Vicki Hopkins of Star; and adoring grandchildren, Tracy Benzie of Boise, and Terry Benzie, who is teaching at the University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China. He will be sorely missed but forever remembered as the devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, and dedicated patriot and Christian that he was.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Holy Rosary Medical Center, Ontario, Ore., the Veterans Administration Hospital, Boise, and the Presbyterian Care Center, Ontario, Ore., for their care and concern during this difficult time.
The family also wishes that any gifts in memorium be forwarded to the Sunrise Christian Church Building Fund, Ontario, Ore., in memory of Milton Hopkins.