POLAND — Dennis L. Loper, 71, died quietly, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital, of complications from chronic respiratory illness. His wife of 44 years, the former Mari-Jane Steller, was at his side.
Dennis was the beloved father of Drew (Lauren) Loper of Belmont, N.C., and papa to his cherished grandchildren, McKinley, Graham and Mary Ellis Loper. His son, Tyler Loper of Denver, Colo., died 17 days earlier, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.
Dennis was born May 1, 1951, in Marion, a son of the late Merrill and Julia Toombs Loper. After graduating in 1969 from Lexington High School (Lexington, Ohio), Dennis completed a four-year pipefitter apprenticeship at Firestone in Akron. He then moved to the Youngstown area to begin his career at General Motors in December 1973, and continued his work at GM Lordstown until his retirement in June 2008.
He and Mari-Jane, whom he married Oct. 14, 1978, started their family in Youngstown and raised them at their current home in Poland.
“Life is simple,” says one of Dennis’s favorite plaques, “Just add water.” His light always shined brightest during summers in Sandusky, while sailing his famously unnamed Benetau 32.5 to the islands of Lake Erie. He earned numerous trophies as a crew member in the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet out of Ashtabula Yacht Club. He also enjoyed sailing vacations to the Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. During the winter, he cherished his time in Punta Gorda, Fla.
In addition to his wife and son’s family, he is survived by his brothers, Troy (Sandy) Loper of Austintown and Perry Loper of Lexington; his family of in-laws, nieces and nephews; and his community of boating friends.
The family wishes to thank his doctors, Dr. Ryan Toolson and Dr. Matthew Gugliotti, and the palliative care team at Mercy Health.
Material gifts in Dennis’s memory may be directed to Sandusky Junior Sailors Inc. at sailsandusky.org.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.