MONTICELLO — The Reverend Leslie Wayne Hoppers, age 90, of Monticello, went to be with his Lord on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Jefferson Regional Memorial Center in Pine Bluff, Ark. Reverend Hoppers was born January 30, 1923, to the late Will Henry Clay Hoppers and the late Willie Mae Yates Hoppers, at Mt. Tabor, Ark. He was preceded in death by his wife Annie Mae Trotter Hoppers; a brother, Ed Lee Hoppers; and his three sisters, Gertie Pruitt, Martha Tucker and Lois Marie Curtis.
Rev. Hoppers woke up happy every day with a zest for living life to the fullest. He didn’t know the meaning of the word “stranger”; he loved talking and meeting everyone he came in contact with. In his younger days, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, and gardening. He was a true Arkansas Razorbacks fan. He loved his country and was particularly proud of serving in the military with the U.S. Marine Corps.
During the Great Depression he joined the Civilian Conservation Corp, at age 17 and helped built roads, irrigation ditches and state parks in Idaho, South Dakota, and near the White River in Arkansas. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he enlisted on July 1, 1942, for four years with the U.S. Marine Corps and received his basic training in San Diego, California. He was then shipped to fight the Japanese for three years in the South Pacific Islands. While serving with the USMC, back in the States, he was awarded the Presidential Citation for saving several hundred men from a fire at the prison barracks, where he served as a guard at the time. He received an honorable discharge from the USMC on July 1, 1946.
Rev. Hoppers and wife Annie, and young son Phillip, returned to Arkansas in 1947, after a lay off at the glass plant where he had worked. A couple of years later his oldest daughter Linda was born. He felt a calling to preach and he decided to finish his education. While pastoring a church in Houston, AR, he received his ordination from the Arkansas District Council Assemblies of God at Hot Springs, Ark., in 1951, the same year his youngest daughter Sharon was born. He attended The College of the Ozarks at Clarksville, Ark., where he graduated with a B.A. in Religious Arts in 1955.
He was a member of First Assembly of God Church. At one time he pastored Oak Grove Assembly of God Church, which he also helped build from the ground up. During his ministry years, he pastored churches in Collins, Ark.; Houston, Ark.; Coal Hill, Ark.; and Star City, Ark.. He has been an ordained Assemblies of God minister for 62 years.
Rev. Hoppers was a member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion.
He is survived by his son, Phillip David Hoppers and Diana of Pine Bluff; his daughter, Linda Anne Naron of Monticello; and his daughter, Sharon Marie Barnes and Mark of Naples, Fla.; four wonderful grandsons Phillip David Hoppers II and Erin of White Hall, Ark.; Christopher Alan Groves of Richmondville, N.Y.; Jody Lynn Groves of Oakland Park, Fla.; and Michael Todd Hoppers and Kimberly of Frisco, Texas; one special granddaughter Lindsay Michele Canfield and John of Indianapolis, Ind.; and four sweet great-granddaughters, Samantha Bowers of White Hall, Ark., Karre Leigh Hoppers and Kinsley Breez Hoppers of Frisco, Texas; and Sylvia Jane Canfield of Indianapolis, Ind., and three special great-grandsons, Clayton Bowers and Benjamin Bowers of White Hall, Ark., and Dawson Reddin of Danville, Ark. To his family he will be affectionately remembered as “Dad”, “Daddy Ray” or “Papaw”; to his church members, many called him “Brother Wayne” or just simply “Preacher.” He answered to them all.
A memorial service will be held at First Assembly of God Church in Monticello at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 officiated by the Reverend Al Womack with the Rev. Jim Bales to assist. Burial will be held at Oakland Cemetery by Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home, Tuesday, March 26, 2013. Online guestbook www.stephensondearman.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the First Assembly of God Church Building Fund, P O Box 473, Monticello, AR, 71655, or to the American Diabetes Association, 1701 North Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA.