William Thomas Hopgood of Dade City, Florida, was born December 24, 1931, in Irvine, Kentucky, and died Saturday, September 28, 2013, from complications of Alzheimer's disease. W.T., Dub, or Hop as he was known throughout his life was the only child of longtime Frankfort residents Ina B. Wheeler Hopgood and Thomas J. Hopgood.
W.T. graduated from Frankfort High School in 1951 where he was noted in the Capitolain as "Most Talkative" of his senior class. He graduated from the University of Kentucky and was a member of Phi Delta Theta. He went on to serve as a pilot in the US Air Force where he achieved the rank of Major. After retiring from active duty, he continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves and began an overseas travel business while residing in upstate New York. He eventually retired to Florida where he lived the remainder of his life. He was honored to be a Kentucky colonel of his home state and had the heart and spirit of a wildnerness man.
Dub was an avid traveler, adventurer and naturalist. He could be counted upon to have a Leatherman, a piece of Velcro, and a spore kit within easy reach. He was never seen without a compass. Given the choice, he would rather walk anywhere than ride. He did not believe in air conditioning but enjoyed that others did. Dub knew which berries might poison you and which tasted like asparagus. He hunted, fished, camped, canoed and enjoyed almost any outdoor activity that allowed for resourcefulness and ingenuity. He once made a camp shower from an empty coffee can. Dub was happiest with a kayak strapped atop his '61 Bambi with Happy, his golden retriever, at his side and a jar of peanut butter in the back seat. A trailer beside a stream suited him better than a four star hotel. He was the first guy on any dance floor and always ready to laugh aloud. He smiled more than he frowned. He was the grandpa on the swing with his granddaughter rather than the one pushing her. He had a knack for facts and would gently explain that the clay turtle you sculpted for him was actually more of a tortoise. At the end, he could still identify bird calls long after other memories had left him. Some said he was eccentric, his daughter dubbed him one of the Last of the 20th Century Guys; he was proud of both monikers.
Hop is survived by two daughters and their families: Robyn and John Hain of Waxahachie, Texas and Dawn and Stephen Spencer of Port Charlotte, Florida. Grandchildren include Whitney Hain and Rachel Hain; Grant Spencer, Madison Spencer, Bradley Spencer and Colby Spencer. He is predeceased by his parents, Ina and Tom Hopgood and his dog, Happy. He requested a portion of his ashes be spread near the graves of his parents at Frankfort Cemetery and at the Colorado grave site of his faithful companion, Happy. Services were held on Thursday, October 10th, at Whitfield Funeral Home in Zephyrhills, Florida. Hop asked that no remembrances be made in his name. He often said, "Life is for the living; live it up!" Any thoughts, stories or recollections of him would be welcome by family members at an email address set up for this purpose: [email protected]