PROPHETSTOWN, Ill. — Arlyn Floyd Toppert, 82, of Prophetstown, died Thursday, September 26, 2013, at his home.
The funeral will be 11a.m. Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Leon United Methodist Church, Prophetstown. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the church. Pastor Mark Curtis, pastor of the Leon United Methodist Church, will officiate. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, October 4, 2013 at the Bosma-Gibson Funeral Home. Burial will be in Leon Cemetery, Prophetstown.
Memorials can be made to Henry C. Adams Memorial, Prophetstown, and Hooppole American Legion Post 1191.
He was born March 1, 1931 in Jane Lamb Hospital, Clinton, to Floyd and Edna A. (Meier) Toppert.
Arlyn grew up on various farms around the Prophetstown area including the Woodworth Bluff area and the Leon Community. After the death of his father in 1932, Arlyn and his mother moved to a 40-acre farm south of Prophetstown located on Highway 78 that belonged to his grandparents, Frank and Maretta (Wildman) Meier. After his mother married Warren Weber, Arlyn and his family lived on a farm located on the Prophetstown-Rock Falls Blacktop. A few years later they moved to a farm in Sandy Town. In 1944, his family moved to the farm that his step-father’s parents, Samuel and Alix (Williamson) Weber, farmed. The “Weber-Toppert” farm was located on the Henry County-Whiteside County border, 7 miles south of Prophetstown off Highway 78. This is the same farm that Arlyn, after retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 1975, farmed until 2012.
Arlyn attended various schools in the Prophetstown area. He attended first and second grade at a school on Jackson Street east of Prophetstown and attended third through eighth grade at Pleasant View Grade School, in the area of Sandy Town and Portland. He attended Prophetstown High School and graduated in 1948. He later went on to college at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1954. He spent four years in the ROTC at Bradley University and was commissioned as an officer in June 1954. Arlyn began active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant in August 1954.
He married Betty J. Immel on Oct. 23, 1955 in Prophetstown. She died October 26, 2010.
He served 21-years as a pilot in the United States Air Force.
Arlyn joined the U.S. Air Force and attended pilot training at Spence Air Force Base in Moultre, Georgia from September 1954 to May 1955, followed by jet pilot training at Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas from May to September 1955 where he graduated first in his class. After pilot training, Arlyn moved to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington in October 1955. He and his family were stationed at numerous Air Force Bases including Hunter AFB, Savannah, Georgia which included 90 days in Morocco, Africa; Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, South Dakota; Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas; Pease AFB, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Castle AFB, Merced, California; and Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas. Arlyn flew B-36s, B-47s and B-52 bombers. He served in the Vietnam War flying hundreds of missions over Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. He and his crew were recognized by the USAF for flying the historic 1,000th B-52 combat sortie of the Vietnam war. Throughout much of his career Arlyn spent one week a month on nuclear ground alert, requiring he and his crew to be ready to launch a nuclear weapon loaded B-52 on a Cold War mission within minutes of notification.
He later served as the 337th Bombardment Squadron Commander at Dyess AFB, where retired at the rank of Lt. Colonel in 1975 after 21 years in the USAF. In 1975, Arlyn along with his wife Betty and his children moved back home to Prophetstown and began his second career farming the “Weber-Toppert” farm until 2012.
He was a member of American Legion, Post 1191, Hooppole.
Arlyn enjoyed softball, bowling, golfing, fishing and hunting. In his later years he was an avid reader, frequenting the Henry C. Adams Memorial Library weekly.
Survivors include a daughter, Bethany (John Butemeyer Ph.D.) Toppert, Ph.D. – Grapevine, Texas; three sons, Mark (Jane) Toppert, Mullin, Texas, Colonel Kent (Gaye) Toppert, New Braunfels, Texas and Lt. Colonel Gary (Marcy) Toppert, Abilene, Texas; and 11 grandchildren, Allie and Andrew Butemeyer; Rachel (Clint) Bentley, Jessica and Paige Toppert; Lindsay (Kevin) Lammers and Travis Toppert; Sarah, Austin, Grace and Rebecca Toppert; a sister, Mrs. Charlene (Weber) Hanson, Prophetstown.
He was preceded in death by his wife Betty; parents, Floyd and Edna; and stepfather, Warren Weber.
Death date: Sept. 26, 2013