Richard Kopke

Richard C. Kopke

Director of the Civic Involvement Program of the Industry-Government Relations Staff at General Motors

General Information


Reporter - Buffalo Courier-Express


political science and journalism , Syracuse University

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Acknowledgments of Contributions

In Memory of Richard C. Kopke 1920-1998Dick was no stranger to cancer when we first met in July, 1995.He had survived an oral cancer and was diagnosed with prostate cancer by Dr. Fred Lee.I had just started my urology practice in Rochester Hills, Michigan at Crittenton Hospital after eight years at Ohio State University.Dick was my 49th patient in my new practice.The two of us hit it off right away.Dick received a degree in political science and journalism from Syracuse University in 1941.Afterwards he worked as a reporter for several newspapers including the Buffalo Courier-Express.His newspaper work was interrupted by military service from 1943 to 1946.In 1955, Dick began working for General Motors and eventually was transferred to Detroit in 1958.His most recent role as Director of the Civic Involvement Program of the Industry-Government Relations Staff of General Motors involved grassroots networks, political action committees, public issues information, political education, and personal political activity motivation.It is easy to see with Dicks background how invaluable he could be for PAACT.After several months of hormonal therapy, Dick had a successful cryoablation of the prostate.His post cryotherapy biopsies remained negative and his PSA was too low to measure.He was so happy with his treatment, he used his professional talents through PAACT to help countless patients.At first he would just talk to many of my patients about prostate cancer.He received and made phone calls all over the county at his own expense.I used to tease him that I needed to make up a set of business cards just for him to talk to my patients. Eventually, he turned his efforts in the Legal Action Committee (LAC-PAACT).Dick was so full of energy and vigor, devoting much of it to his wonderful wife, Carol, and PAACT.Several months ago Dick began to uncharacteristically weaken.He always had a chronic anemia.Prior bone marrow biopsies were non-diagnostic, but about a year ago bone marrow biopsy confirming the diagnosis of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia was made.Dick's energy would wax and wane, however, when he felt up to it he was his old self.Eventually the need for transfusions became more frequent and chemotherapy, so successful initially was no longer working as well.I remember quite well, the last time I saw Dick.He was in the hospital while on the hematology service and had just been told that his time was short.The leukemia was getting the upper hand.Outwardly he looked thinner and tired a bit easier, but he did not appear ill.That night Dick thanked me for everything and gave me a hug.I know he was saying good bye but I told him not to give up fighting.I made arrangements for him to seek consultation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at M.D. Anderson.A few days later I learned Dick had died in Carol's arms.His last words to her were that she had given him an "emotional renaissance".Dick, I know that even on the other side you're still checking out the PAACT newsletters.I just wanted to thank you for being such a good friend to me and the other PAACT members.You touched all of our lives with your friendship, caring and generosity.I know you are with God because of the way you have given of yourself.Please continue to look over us.You will be dearly missed.

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