David E. J.
“Dave” Pepin, 67, of Grant Park, Illinois passed
away Monday (Sept. 16, 2013) at Kindred Hospital, Hammond, Ind. Visitation will
be from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Saturday at the Clancy-Gernon Funeral Home,
Manteno. A funeral mass will follow at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph
Catholic Church, Manteno. The Rev. Albert Heidecke will officiate. Burial will
be in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Manteno. Memorials may be made to
Make-A-Wish Foundation or to the donor’s choice.
He was born May 28, 1946, in Kankakee, the son of Deacon Elmer and Irma Pepin
(Binder). As a child, David attended Hall of the Divine Child in Monroe, Mich.,
an elementary military academy for boys. He graduated in 1959. He then went on
to attend and graduate from Manteno High School. He married Barbara Schultz in
1969, though the marriage later dissolved.
David loved to fly. He worked at the Kankakee Airport in exchange for flying
lessons, and eventually became a certified pilot. He passed this love of flying
and airplanes on to his sons and grandsons.
David worked in the defense industry for the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant and
held several certificates in the fields of instrumentation and automation, as
well as high explosive processes. David had been involved in law enforcement
since 1970 and went on to serve as the head of the Merit Commission for the
Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department.
As a young man, David began a lifetime collection of antique Japanese swords. He
was an extremely knowledgeable collector and dealer. He got in on the ground
floor of Japanese sword collecting and excelled at it, both in the United States
and Japan. David made contributions to both history and society by placing
culturally important and cherished works of art into the custody of those who
will preserve them for posterity. Through David’s efforts, thousands of antique
Japanese swords have been preserved, he encouraged new collectors, and he
assisted others with translation and research. He exhibited his collection for
the Department of the Navy (Naval Memorial Museum), and the Department of the
Army (U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.). He was a lifetime member for
The Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords, Tokyo, Japan (The
Nippon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai), an official organization of the Japanese
Government, Ministry of Education. David was a lifetime member of the Japanese
Sword Society of the United States (JSSUS).
One of the pinnacles of David’s career was to receive an invitation from the
government of China to visit China and evaluate the Japanese swords they had
confiscated from the retreating Japanese Army at the end of World War II.
Over his lifetime, David excelled in horology (the art of measuring time, i.e.
clocks and watches), antique firearms, gemology, and fine art. He also became
proficient in the reading of old Japanese kanji.
David was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, and worked for the U.S.
Government in several capacities, including assisting the FBI on several cases
involving stolen art and art fraud.
Over the years David became quite fond of Saint Therese the Little Flower and
prayed to her often.
Per David’s wishes, he will be buried with the ashes of his favorite pet, a
German shepherd named Hanna.
We love you dad. We will cherish all of the good memories and one day be
together again. You will be missed by many.
David was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Grant Park Lions Club and the
Surviving are two sons, Matthew (Amy) Pepin, of Kankakee, and Tim (Missy) Pepin,
of La Crosse, Wis.; four grandchildren, Jeremiah and Adam Pepin, and Grace and
Joshua Pepin; his mother, Irma Pepin, of Manteno; one brother, Karlan (Beth)
Pepin, of Manteno; and one niece, Michele Pepin, of Bourbonnais.
He was preceded in death by his father, Deacon Elmer Pepin; one nephew, Anthony
Pepin; and one brother, Dene Pepin.
Please sign his guestbook at clancygernon.com.
posted Sept. 20, 2013, 8:39 am