In Memory of CH Paul D. Hopkins

Paul was born December 23, 1929 in Morgan County, KY and passed away July 5, 2023 peacefully in his Norman, OK home. Paul was born to Issac and Lula Coffee Hopkins in the hills of eastern KY and was raised on bluegrass music while helping his family work their tobacco farm. He was educated in a one room schoolhouse thru 8th grade and completed his high school years at Mountain Mission school in Grundy, VA. The lure of a good career and travel led him to enlist in the United States Air Force. After basic training in TX, he had the good fortune to be assigned to Vance AFB, OK where he met the love of his life JoAnn Beneditti Hopkins. JoAnn, all of 14 years old and already a seasoned employee of the local root beer stand was likewise smitten.
When Paul received orders to Mountain Home, ID they both realized that their lives were meant to be spent together, which happily occurred for 68 years.

Paul and JoAnn enjoyed many years as a military family with Paul serving first as an enlisted airman, followed by 7 years of schooling which, led to his commissioning as a Chaplain in the United States Army, a calling he held for 23 years. This call to ministry was precipitated by his attending a Billy Graham Crusade while stationed in Scotland. The Army insured that this Chaplain and his family saw the world! He served hardship tours in Korea and Viet Nam which challenged JoAnn to raise their four daughters independently while they all anxiously awaited his return home. Family assignments included Scotland, Germany, Washington D.C., California, a return to KY, and numerous other Army posts.

Paul, the Chaplain, and JoAnn, the CPA, believed strongly in education for themselves and their 4 daughters. Paul earned an undergraduate degree, three Master’s degrees, and a Doctorate of Ministry. He ensured that his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren were given every opportunity to obtain educational success.
Personally, he used his numerous advance degrees to run the nearly world famous, yet quaint, Spare Rib – a delicious BBQ restaurant in Enid, OK.

While he enjoyed the BBQ challenge, he once again felt the call to serve civilian churches, which included Waukomis, El Reno, Hennessey, Ames, and Kingfisher, OK. After living in Enid for nearly 20 years, Paul and JoAnn moved to Norman to be close to family. They became active members of First Christian Church and very involved with Bel Mar Golf Club. Paul’s greatest golf accomplishment came during his 78th year, when he shot a round of 78 at Bel Mar. Having been a life long musician, he and JoAnn began wintering in south TX where he led a weekly Bluegrass jam. He and JoAnn made lifelong friends in the Valley during their 20 plus years there. He was an accomplished singer, guitar and mandolin player, who while accompanied by JoAnn on the fiddle, was firmly held to a high standard of staying on pitch and on correct timing.

Paul was proceeded in death by both parents, 8 siblings, his wife, and precious 3rd born and red headed daughter, Paula Jean Hopkins Hey and her husband Dr. Wayne A. Hey. He is survived by children: Debra Ann Evans (Joe), Kerry Lynn Etter (Dennis), and Tamara Hopkins.
Additionally, he is survived by 11 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren who were the light of his life. He is also survived by many loving relatives in KY.

Paul was buried, alongside JoAnn, with full military honors at Fort Sill National Cemetery July 14th at 9:00 a.m. A celebration of his life will occur at Bel Mar at a later date. Online condolences may be shared at

Memorial contributions may be made to the Paul D. Hopkins Scholarship Fund at Mountain Mission School, 1760 Edgewater Drive, Grundy, VA, 24614.