George E. Koppel, Jr.
89, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lena and George Koppel; his brothers, A.J. Koppel and William P. Koppel, and his first wife, Marilyn End.
In 1943 President Roosevelt and other world leaders put out a call for a special unit to go behind enemy lines in Burma to disrupt the Japanese war effort and reopen the Burma Road. President Roosevelt called it a "Dangerous Hazardous Mission." George was one of these men.
They began a long march of over 1,000 miles through jungles and over the Himalayan Mountains to Burma. Alone, without support, they walked every step of 1,000 miles. They gave heroism a new meaning and brought glory to our nation. Vastly outnumbered, they defeated everything the enemy threw at them. No other special unt in the history of warfare ever went through as much hand-to-hand combat fighting in the jungles, and surviving until supplies and food could be parachuted in.
After four long months of marching and fighting, the Merrill Marauders, as they became to be known, captured a strategic airfield in Northern Burma ending four months of fighting. No other American force has marched as far and shown such monumental endurance as these brave men, a National treasure. George was an active member of the Merrill's Marauders Association, Inc and met each year with the China, Burma and India Veterans Association. Their love and bond as fellow veterans was awesome.
George was a member of St. Helen's Parish where he went to school, a member of St. Paul's for 33 years and St. Gabriel's for 25 years. He was a member of the Couples Club for 40 years and cherishes the memories. George was a developer and was owner and operator of Koppel Brothers Inc.
Special thanks to Kay W. for her care giving skills.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Eula. They celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
He is also survived by eight sons, Ronnie, Donnie (Lynn), Larry (Cathy), Barry (Darlene), Danny (Melissa), Keith, Newman, George (Judy); and four daughters, Janet (Bill) Kleier, Michelle Koppel, Marilena (Daryl) Wertz, and Angela (Greg) Browning; 20 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, September 6, 2013 at St. Paul Catholic Church, 6901 Dixie Hwy., with interment to follow at St. Andrew Cemetery. Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. Thursday, September 5, 2013 (with prayer service at 3 p.m.) at Ratterman and Sons Funeral Home, 3800 Bardstown Road and after 10 a.m. Friday at the church.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to Hosparus of Louisville.
Online condolences may be left at www.Ratterman.com.