Theodore Laurence Hopkins, Jr. (Ted) was welcomed home by his heavenly Father on December 9 at the age of 75. He was born March 6, 1946 to Theodore Laurence Hopkins and Pauline Elizabeth Tucker Hopkins in Greenville, Mississippi.
The oldest of six children, Ted traveled the world with his parents while his dad flew for the Air Force, living in England, Alaska, the Philippines, and many bases in the States. He loved to tell adventure stories of military life and conect with those who served. Ted smiled his way into people's hearts, having the unique ability to meet them as a stranger and leave them as a friend. he loved spreading cheerful greetings as he walked through life. He had a way of making sure the man with the mustache would be remembered.
Being a musician and music teacher was in his DNA. His first professional flute performance was at age 13, with performances continuing through high school bands at Whitehall Yearling and Walnut Ridge in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from the Navy School of Music in 1965 and played jazz in the Naval Airs Band, which led to a lifetime of professional big band and jazz gigs, having once performed for the Queen of Holland, in addition to many notable musicians such as Percy Sledge, Frankie Valley, Betty Lewis and Andraé Crouch. He played first chair flute in the Pensacola Symphony, then once out of the Navy pursued a music education degree from Florida State University, working his way through college as a piano and organ salesman.
After moving to Bossier in 1985 to be near family, he began a second career as a band director for Caddo Parish Schools, teaching at Woodlawn, Oil City Elementary, Herndon Middle Magnet, Southwood, and ultimately working with all band directors as the itinerant Woodwinds Specialist. He earned a Masters in Music Performance from Northwestern University in Louisiana in 1997 and taught at Bossier Parish Community College, East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, TX and Grambling State University in Ruston. He retired from Caddo Parish Schools in 2009 but continued his lifelong habit of teaching woodwinds to private students. Ted taught music in its many forms to every age from kindergarten to college, including private students in their seventies. He played for many churches throughout the years, especially enjoying the Christmas and Easter programs at St. Paul’s Episcopal, Cypress Baptist, and First Baptist of Minden. He relished his time playing music for the Lord most recently with the orchestras of Brookwood Baptist and First Baptist Minden. Through his music, he touched hundreds of lives.
Ted’s other passion in life was sailing his Catamaran, Sunfish, and Catalina during his 20 years in Florida and at Cross Lake in Shreveport. He loved the camaraderie at the Shreveport Yacht Club and raised his children and grandchildren by making fond memories there. Ted loved everything about the water, whether swimming, diving, boating, or sunsets over the gulf. When he wasn’t around the water, he was reading voraciously, usually history, a love he shared with his wife, collecting quite a collection of books between them.
His faith in God was strong, deepened by his personal Pentecostal experience in 1988. He spent many moments in praise to the Lord for God’s wonders and the blessings of his life while sitting on his back patio.
He is preceded in death by his daughter, Annalyse Renee Hopkins; his parents, and brother, Timothy Hopkins.
He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Datha Branch Hopkins; his son, Jaron Daniel Hopkins; three grandchildren, Viviane Pauline Leonard, Lorelai Sonja Monk and Cordelia Lyse Monk who know him as their beloved Popsie. He leaves his dearly loved brothers and sisters, Thomas Holden Hopkins, Tona Lea Chrisman (Mark), Margaret Estelle Broussard (Mike) and Terrence Lyman Hopkins (Jan) as well as a host of nieces, nephews, and many friends.
Honoring Ted as pallbearers will be Mark Chrisman, Mike Broussard, Randy Rasmussen, Clair White, Mark Morton, and Dave Hardin.
Services celebrating Ted’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 14 at The Pentecostals of Bossier Church, 2833 Viking Drive in Bossier. Senior Pastor Jerry Dean will officiate. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. prior to the service. Interment will immediately follow the at Forest Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Chair of Jazz Programs, East Texas Baptist University Music Department or the Sounds of Swing Band at Panola College.
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