Saluting Utopia Lion Kent Kepler
By Marilyn Chalmers BCC Contributor
Sabinal Canyon Utopia Lions Club member Kent Kepler has made a difference in the lives of others, according to all who know him.
He was born on March 10, 1937, in Oshkosh, Nebraska. Kepler's early years were spent in Big Springs, Nebraska, where he attended a school similar to that in Utopia. The high school's 80 students were pulled from four surrounding counties.
Kepler describes attending Stanford University in California as "a culture shock." He served two years in the Los Angeles area as a missionary and attended seminary in Claremont, graduating in 1984.
The next year, after marrying Virginia, his lifelong bride, Kepler served two years as campus minister at the University of Minnesota where he also received an MA in English. The couple then moved to Austin where Kepler attended graduate school at the University of Texas.
After teaching at Southwestern University in Georgetown, he decided to return to the ministry. Since that time, he has spent many years as a minister in Texas. His calling has taken Kepler across the Lone Star State to the Del Rio-Brackettville area, Hebbronville-Bruni-Mirando City, Odem, Bishop, Sonora, Menard-Eden, San Saba, Big Lake-Barnhart and finally, Utopia. He retired from the ministry in 2003.
The couple has two children. Cynthia, who attended Stanford University and Duke Divinity, now serves as a Methodist pastor in Austin. Kepler recalls a special memory when, at his retirement in 2003, he passed the mantle of clergy office to Cynthia. He recalls there wasn't a dry eye in the place.
The couple's other daughter, Catherine attended Nebraska Wesleyan and currently teaches in Brackettville. Before retiring in 2000, Virginia taught school for many years.
Kepler joined the short-lived Hebbronville Lions Club in 1977, and while living in Odem, served as secretary-treasurer of the Odem Lions Club from 1979 through 1981. He also served as president of the Bishop Lions Club from 1981 through 1986 and was a member of the Big Lake Lions Club from 1997 until 2001.
A member of the Utopia Lions Club since 2000, Kepler served as second vice president, first vice president and president. One of his most important moments as a Lion was sending a man to Michigan to receive a guide dog.
"Thanks, Lion Kent Kepler, for your dedication to Lions Club and for more than 30 years of service," said a Lions spokesman. "You are an example of the Lions Club International motto, 'We serve'."