Harold Toppin, age 95, passed away August 8, 2023 at St. Luke's Lutheran Care Center. A memorial service will be 11AM Saturday September 9 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth. Visitation will be one hour before the service at the church. Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Blue Earth with military honors.
Harold Toppin, age 95, passed away on August 8, 2023 in St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center. “Harold” Toppin was born September 4 1927 to Maurice and Florence (Witmer) Toppin in the rural Winnebago area. He attended school starting at 6 in a one room school house and graduated from Winnebago High School in 1945. Graduating at just 17 years of age, he wanted to join the military and did so in the fall of 1945, joining the Marines. He went to boot camp at Paris Island, and spent two days under a picnic table with all the guys during a hurricane. When they came out, everything but that building was gone.
When his commanding officer at Great Lakes Naval Base asked if any of the new marines could type, he answered “Yes,” and was assigned as a payroll clerk at the base. The battle-hardened Marines returning to the states were sometimes frustrated that he could not give them all the pay that was due, but almost always they walked away with a smile and some cash for shore leave.
Returning from service in 1947, he started a 19 year career in farming similar to the life his father and mother had shown him over the past 20 years. On June 6, 1948, Harold married Wanda Zentner, also of Winnebago, and from that marriage there were 3 sons: Ronald, Robert, and Richard. As all farmers do, “you learned to fix things” from watching others and just having to figure it out. This skill of learning to fix things would lead to the second part of his life, as he quit farming in 1966, and went to work for Leo Roerig of Roerig Hardware in Winnebago. Sales, installation, and repair work would be part of the next 20-25 years of his life working for Roerig Hardware. Harold and Mert Messer would spend many a year helping customers get new appliances delivered, installed and repaired, all the time smiling and laughing about something.
Harold also worked weekends for years at the post office in Winnebago, subbing for rural route carriers, sorting mail, and working the front desk on weekends. Divorced in 1981, Harold found the love of his life in Lillian “Babe” Mittelstadt Hamre and in April 1984 they married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth. This enriched Harold’s life with 2 new “daughters” and their families. The Cheri and Jim Brooks family and Gloria and Dennis Weber family had many years of trips to the lake and making many new family memories. Harold also got the opportunity in retirement to work at Dennis Weber’s furniture store and help out with special events at Riverside Country Club where Jim Brooks worked.
Babe and Harold loved to travel with friends. Harold especially loved going to his niece’s and nephew’s cabin where laughter and smiles abounded over games of Yahtzee and Canadian dice, and of course fishing. Fisherman never exaggerate their catch!
Harold was always proud of being a Marine, a veteran, and was part of the Legion club in Winnebago and Blue Earth for many years. He served in many official capacities, honor guards, regional councils and club offices of many types. Harold loved baseball and loved the Twins. This led him to managing the American Legion team for many years while his sons played ball. This year, Harold received an honor for being a member of the Legion for 75 years!
Since 1984, Harold was a member of Trinity Lutheran church and always had a hard time saying no when asked to help with some project by the ladies of the church.
Harold is survived by his sons, Ron (Cindy), Bob (MaryJo), Rick (Katie) Toppin and daughters Gloria Weber and Cheri (Jim) Brooks. Harold’s sister Pat Schoneck and brother John Toppin survive him, along with 11 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. Harold is preceded in death by his parents Maurice B Toppin and Florence Toppin, brothers Robert and Donald Toppin, son-in-law Dennis Weber, and wife Babe.