Father Arthur Herman Hoppe, 98, died Sept. 26 at his residence at CentraCare, Melrose. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, with a vigil service at 7 p.m., at Sacred Heart Church in Freeport. Visitation will resume on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 9 a.m. until the time of the Mass of Christian Burial, which will be celebrated at 11 a.m. with Bishop Donald Kettler presiding. Burial will be in St. Patrick Cemetery in Melrose.
“Father Hoppe was a faithful and holy man,” Father Derek Wiechmann recalled. “He was strict, but you knew he cared about you. He lived a simple life. Tucked away by choice in the St. Rosa rectory very many years, he grew in holiness and had a love for the Mass. As a priest, Father Hoppe inspired others by his fidelity to his calling. He celebrated daily Mass in St. Rosa until he was 92 years old. I attribute his example as a joyful priest as one reason why I wanted to become a priest.
“He baptized me and gave my first Communion at St. Rose of Lima Parish in St. Rosa, which was the last parish he served at. Father Hoppe is my first memory of a priest,” said Father Wiechmann, pastor of St. Louis Bertrand in Foreston, St. Mary in Milaca, St. Kathryn in Ogilvie, and St. Mary in Mora.
Father Hoppe was born Feb. 26, 1921, in Melrose, to Anton and Theresa (Fichtinger) Hoppe. He attended St. Patrick and St. Boniface grade schools and public high school in Melrose. His college and seminary training were at St. John’s University in Collegeville and St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. Father Hoppe was ordained by Bishop Joseph Busch at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud on May 31, 1947. He celebrated his first Mass at St. Patrick Church in Melrose on June 8, 1947.
He served in the following pastoral assignments: associate pastor at Assumption in Morris and St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud; pastor at St. Patrick in Minden Township, St. Nicholas in Belle River, St. John Nepomuk in Lastrup, St. Louis in Paynesville, St. Mary in Alexandria, St. Wendelin in Luxemburg and St. Rose of Lima in St. Rosa. Father Hoppe retired on July 1, 1999. He was a priest of the diocese for 72 years.
Father Hoppe served as director of Assumption and Calvary Cemeteries in St. Cloud, director of the St. Cloud Bookshop and secretary to Bishop Peter Bartholome. He was also dean of the Alexandria Deanery and a member of the Liturgy and Music Commission. After retirement, Father Hoppe presided at the Latin Mass in Flensburg from 1999-2013.
Father Hoppe was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Robert, and two sisters, Rose Marie Schwarzmeier and Viola Hoppe.