John (Jerry) Albert Epple, Jr. passed from this earthly life on May 1, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. Mr. Epple was born to John Albert Epple and Elizabeth King Epple on December 25th, 1926, in Fayette, Mo. The family moved to Columbia in 1927 where he attended Lee Elementary School, Hickman High School, and the University of Missouri. It was there that he met his wife, the former Jeanne Vinyard. They were united in marriage in 1950. The Epples spent most of their lives in Columbia.
Mr. Epple was a graduate of the University of Missouri College of Engineering, and was a civil engineer. He worked alongside his father and brother in their family business, John A. Epple Construction Company. Together they built or participated in the construction of many notable buildings in central Missouri, including the Winston Churchill Memorial Chapel, Missouri United Methodist Church, Boone Hospital, and the Firestone-Baars Chapel, designed by Earo Saarinen. The company also built many buildings on the University campus, including the South wing of Memorial Union, a renovation of Jesse Hall, and University Hospital.
Mr. Epple was honored to serve in the United States Army during WWII. After his initial training, he was assigned to a small, specialized unit stationed in Philadelphia, where he studied Japanese and worked on code detection and decoding.
After retiring from the construction business, Mr. Epple served as a Trust Officer at Boone County National Bank. He was active in civic life, and served on the Missouri Housing Commission and on the Columbia Board of Adjustment. He was a member of the Missouri Republican State Committee, Rotary Club, the University of Missouri Jefferson Club, and was a lifetime member of the University of Missouri Alumni Club. Mr. Epple served on the Building Committee of the Don Reynolds Alumni Center on the University campus.
He was active in the congregation of Missouri United Methodist Church, where he served in leadership, and was later a member of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, in Leawood, Kan. After retirement, Mr. Epple served the people of Boone County as Public Administrator, acting as guardian for those who had no other advocate, many of whom were wards of the county.
Mr. Epple is survived by his devoted wife of nearly 62 years, Jeanne V. Epple, of Kansas City, and his loving children: Elizabeth J. Epple, of Leawood, Kan.; John A. Epple III, of St. Louis; Constance Epple Stella (Reid), of Kansas City; and Margaret Epple Gilk (Tobias), of Overland Park, Kan. Also surviving are eight grandchildren: John A. Epple IV, Zachary Epple, Benjamin Epple, Victoria Epple, Samuel Stella, Olivia Stella, Francesca Stella, and Helena Gilk; and nieces, nephews and cousins across the country. Mr. Epple was preceded in death by his brothers, Dr. Lawrence K. Epple and Robert C. Epple, and his sister-in-law, Dr. Katherine Christman Epple.
A memorial celebration will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 5, with visitation preceding, in the Wesley Chapel of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kan. Reverends Adam Hamilton, Karla Woodward, and Wendy Lyons-Chrostek will preside.
A brief service of remembrance will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 6, in Memorial Chapel at Memorial Park Cemetery in Columbia, followed by internment. The Rev. James Bryan will preside. The family will welcome guests in the reception rooms at Memorial Funeral Home immediately following the burial.
To celebrate Mr. Epple’s life, and in lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations be made to the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe Ave., Leawood, KS, 66224; or to Kansas City Hospice, 9221 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO, 64114.
Condolences may be left online at www.mcgilleystatelinechapel.com.