Kenneth D. Kappler, age 95 of New Dawn Assisted Living Center at Dover and formerly of New Philadelphia died Wednesday, February 27, 2013 in Union Hospital at Dover following a brief illness.
He was born at home on the family farm in Goshen Township January 3, 1918, the son of the late William and Olive Maude (Leatherman) Kappeler. He was proud of the fact that he left school after the eighth grade to help on the farm and later went on to work for Republic Steel and in the coal mining industry.
With the start of World War II he was one of the first men in Tuscarawas County to be drafted and entered the service October 29, 1941. He served first in Panama with the 615th Coastal Artillery Battalion and in 1942 was assigned to the newly organized 134th Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion. In July of 1944 the unit was deployed to the European Theatre of the war, arriving initially in Scotland and then to England where they provided air defenses at “Shrapnel Heights”, in Kent County. On September 23rd they were en route to France attached to the 49th AAA Brigade of the First Army. Disembarking on a secured Omaha beach the 134th AAA went on to participate in the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns earning three battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. A Tech-Sergeant grade 5 when the war ended Kenny rotated back to the U.S. and was honorably discharged September 22 1945. He had been awarded the Good Conduct Medal, The Army Presidential Unit Ribbon, The American Defense Medal w/ bronze star, the American Campaign Medal, The European Campaign Medal w/ three bronze stars, The World War II Victory Medal, the Army Occupation Medal, the Honorable Service Lapel Pin (“ruptured duck”), one hash mark and 7 overseas bars. Kenny’s Army service left a lasting impression on him that anyone who had to listen to his “war stories” over and over and over again will testify to!
After the war Kenny came home and married Betty K. Aubihl on October 20 1946, to whom he remained married for over 66 years. Fiercely independent, he went into the coal mining and trucking business for himself with wife Betty. Injured in a deep mine accident, they started strip mining, processing, and hauling their own coal for many years as the successful Kappler Trucking and Coal Company.
As he and Betty eased into retirement they purchased a home in Port Charlotte Florida where they split their residences through the years as “snowbirds”. In later years they retreated again solely to New Philadelphia in the home they owned and lived in for nearly 65 years. His last days were spent comfortably at the New Dawn retirement home with wife Betty. He was a member of the Dover VFW and Tuscarawas County Senior Center.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by sister, Patty and brother-in-law Keith Johnson; son Mark and his wife Rondee of Loganville, Georgia and daughter, Marlene and her husband Donn Everhard of Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. Six grandchildren, Mandy, Matthew, Gretchen, Angela, Abel and Aaron, 11 great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives complete the family.
In addition to his parents, Kenny was preceded in death by two sisters, Ruby Bozman and Mary and brother-in-law, Wade Palmer and a brother Mendel “Mickey” Kappler.
The family will greet guests on Sunday, March 3, 2013 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM in the Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory at New Philadelphia. A celebration of Kenny’s life will be led by his grandson, Pastor Matthew Everhard on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM in the funeral home’s chapel. Burial with military honors provided by the Dover VFW will follow in the Evergreen Burial Park.
Following services, all are invited to join in a time of food and fellowship in the Geib Family Center, adjacent to the New Philadelphia funeral home.
Memorial contributions in Kenny’s name may be directed to the First United Church of Christ, PO Box, 422 New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663 or to Community Hospice of Tuscarawas County 716 Commercial Avenue SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663.
Those wishing to do so may send the family a personal condolence and light a candle in remembrance of Kenny by visiting the funeral home’s website at www.GeibCares.com.
Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory at New Philadelphia