Cover photo for Roger L. Hepperla M.D.'s Obituary
Roger L. Hepperla M.D. Profile Photo

Roger L. Hepperla M.D.

July 18, 1932 — October 30, 2023

Roger Lawrence Hepperla, M.D. passed away peacefully at the age of 91 on October 30th 2023, from complications of dementia. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Jacqueline (Juneau) Hepperla, and their eight children: Lisa (Mike) Hills, Rick (Cindy) Hepperla, Mary (Doug) Kugler, Anne Hepperla, Suzanne (John) Brennan, Jane (David) Menheer, Renee (Rick) Wedderspoon, and Paul (Shannen) Hepperla. He was beloved as “Grandpa” to Steve (Juin Yi), Katie (Brett), Austin, Kristin, Sarah, Drew, Christy (Casey), Anna, Michelle, Paul Andrew, Laura (Eric), Cari, Sara, Theresa (Fateh), Sam, Amelia, Joe (Jess), Amanda (Paul), Marissa, Caden, Maya (Josh), Emily, and Catherine, and, “Grandpa the Great” to Eliana, Laney, Kamien, Coco, Adela, Rowan, Layla, and Cooper.


Roger was born and was raised in Lakewood, Ohio with his sister Carol. After graduating from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH, he arrived in Milwaukee to attend Marquette University, receiving his degree in Medicine from Marquette University Medical School in 1957. While working as a medical intern at Columbia Hospital, Roger met Jacquie, the love of his life, who he described as “the most beautiful woman he ever saw”. Faced with an imminent move to California for his medical residency, the courtship that began as a case of love-at-first-sight, culminated in their wedding a mere six weeks later – and this was just the beginning of their life journey. The two shared a common desire for a large family, and Jacquie remained by his side until his final day.


Roger had a deep love for his country, and was called to active service in the US Army in 1961. He served in the 6th Army, 115th Medical Detachment (Surgical) in Fort Ord, California, and was honorably discharged in 1968, with the rank of Captain, Medical Corps.


Following his military service, Roger returned to southeast Wisconsin where he provided outstanding anesthesia care to thousands of patients for over 40 years at hospitals and clinics including UW Hospital, Columbia, St. Joseph Hospital, and West Allis Memorial. He also served on the clinical education staff for the Medical College of Wisconsin. His compassionate care was unwavering, and he loved his co-workers who he considered his extended family.


Roger left behind a vast legacy that will carry on through his family and many others who he touched in his life. His life was guided by a commitment to the priorities of God, family and country. He was deeply spiritual with a strong moral code that he modeled daily and without compromise. He prayed tirelessly for others, and even after dementia robbed him of memories, he could be found clutching to his rosary, even if only remembering a few words of the prayer. He saw Jesus in everyone regardless of their station in life, and always tried to make others feel welcome in his home.


Together with Jacquie, Roger taught life’s principles to three generations of his family, through both word and example: trust in God, love of family, love is sacrifice, life is a gift, others over self, humility, never embarrass the family, laugh often. He taught the value of strong work ethic and encouraged his children to be whatever they wanted to be, as long as it paid the bills. He raised his children to be fiercely independent, to be strong providers, and never to settle.


He had a mischievous sense of humor with an endless array of the best bad dad jokes and took great pride in his frequent pranks. He had a passion for photography and was often behind the camera. The compulsory family line-up pictures from oldest to youngest that seemed like such drudgery at the time, are now many of the family treasures. He loved to travel with Jacquie, with regular vacations to Ixtapa Mexico, Sanibel Island, Caribbean cruises, and pilgrimages to religious shrines throughout Europe and elsewhere. He was a madman on the dance floor, especially with the Polka and the Jitterbug. He could never pass up an opportunity to dance, especially with his daughters or granddaughters, who he was known to wear out and outlast.


Roger will be deeply missed, but we rest in the comfort of knowing that he lives-on inside the hearts of his earthly family, and in the presence of the Lord and the Holy Family in heaven. His legacy is keenly expressed in part of a poem written by his youngest daughter when:


Ready for dawn again, on his quest

To be the best man he could be

No doubt his goal was reached

To strive to live up to

Family success unbreached


Looking up to this legend

For five decades and longer

Brings clear meaning to the words

No man will be ever stronger


Than the man I call my dad

Who showed us how to live

With greatness in our hearts

And the message to forgive


So long, for now, Dad, until we meet again. Job well done!


The family invites friends and loved ones to join them in celebrating Roger’s life on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at St. Charles Catholic Church, 313 Circle Drive, Hartland, WI, with Visitation at 10:00am to 11:30am, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30am. Immediately following the mass, all are invited to join the family at the Commitment Service at St. Charles Catholic Cemetery and a lunch reception (details to be available at the church).


The family extends their deepest appreciation to the caregivers of The Arbors Memory Care Unit at Towner Crest in Oconomowoc, WI https://www.preshomes.org/our-communities/towner-crest for their amazing care, and Bright On Hospice https://brightonhospice.com/locations/wisconsin/ for providing Roger with a comfortable and peaceful transition home to Jesus.


In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to one of the following of Roger’s favorite charities:


• St. Charles Catholic Church, Hartland, WI https://parish.stcharleshartland.com/page/donate-giving


• Holy Hill Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians https://www.holyhill.com/donations


• St. Jude Children's Research Hospital  https://www.stjude.org/promotion/impact-giving-pm.html?sc_dcm=58700008005633531&sc_cid=kwp&sc_cat=b&ds_rl=1285465&ds_rl=1291300&ds_rl=1290690&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIr_a7obelggMVph-tBh1rSg4oEAAYASAAEgK-TfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds





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Visitation

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

10:00 - 11:30 am (Central time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

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