John Richard Soper, Sr.

ESCANABA – John Richard Soper, Sr., 68, 3092 18th Road, Escanaba, died peacefully at his residence surrounded by his wife and children on Friday, May 24, 2013.

He was born on Dec. 5, 1944, in Escanaba. He graduated from Gladstone Area High School and attended NMU for Welding and Construction Classes.

Upon Graduation, John served in the Army National Guard Reserves.

John worked as a Millwright Construction Superintendent his entire career. He was known for his innovative knowledge to his customers that he worked for. He was a mentor to many in the construction trades. After retirement from construction he owned and operated “Riverland Mini Mart,” where he produced his famous smoked meats and steaks. Everyone grew to know and love him as Big John.

He was married to Patricia Valen Summers on Oct. 3, 1964, in Escanaba.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Patricia Soper; his children, John R. (Angela) Soper, Jr. of Escanaba, Robert J. (Kristal) Soper of Escanaba, Brenda S. Soper of Escanaba and

Tammy M. (Bill) Wiles of Escanaba; along with 11 grandchildren and 2 great grand children. He is also survived by his siblings, Rosemary (Melvin) Berglund, Robert (Mary) Soper, Steve (Linda) Soper, William Soper, James (Sue) Soper, Thomas (Donna) Soper, Donna (John)Lehouillier, Michael Soper Jr., Richard Soper, Debra (Bob) Donaghe, Donald (Candy) Soper, and Tim Soper.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Elvera Soper; and sister, Carole Dancer.

A special thank you to OSF St Francis Hospital and Marquette General Hospital Special Care Units.

The family will be having a private service at the Soper Family Cemetery in Riverland.

In Lieu of flowers or monetary gifts the family has asked for donations to be given to the American Lung Association.

The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Soper family.