Thomas E. Poplett, age 87, of Mesa, Arizona formerly of Knoxville, Illinois, died on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at his home in Mesa. Tom was born on his mother’s birthday on March 10, 1932. His early years were centered in the heart of Illinois. He enjoyed his school days in Galesburg and the Dahinda and Williamsfield schools. The small-town life in the Spoon River area contributed greatly to his love of nature and provided many friends. He was nurtured into the Christian walk by his Grandma Dawson, mother, and aunts. His baptism into the Community of Christ followed by his ordination into the ministry became a central part of his life. Tom served as a minister of Jesus for nearly fifty-five years, and his ministry encompassed serving people in the community as well as the members of his denomination. Tom married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Douglas Poplett, on November 12, 1950. She preceded him in death on July 21, 2003. Together they had three sons: T. Lynn (and Diane), Jared Lee (and Mary), and Joseph, who died on the day of his birth. They then adopted two girls: Shirley Poplett and Holly Ritchie. He had many great grandchildren ranging in age from high school age down to toddlers. Each member of the family brought new dimensions of joy and exposure to other cultures. He enjoyed his years working as a Steamfitter before retiring. After his retirement, he found a new vocation as a hospice volunteer. The ten years that he shared with the staff and the families that turned to hospice for support provided personal and spiritual growth. His association with clients, staff, and ministers of support lead him to a much more ecumenical view of other denominations and their beliefs than had been his guide in his early years. He was blessed once again in love and married Clarice Sutton Taylor on May 26, 2004. They resided in Grand Junction, Colorado for several years where Tom discovered the beauty of the mountains and the desert country. They relocated to their homes in Arizona and were welcomed into two special communities in that state. Their winter home in Mesa provided warm weather, warm welcomes in the community, and cultural events. Their summer home in Overgaard had a simpler setting, exchanging the palms of the valley for Ponderosa forests, lakes, new friends, and ministry in the Methodist church. His testimony was ‘God has been good to me.’ Cremation rites have been accorded. Graveside services will be held at a later date.
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