In Memoriam

Rest in Peace!!!
David E. J. Pepin 5/28/1946 – 09/16/2013
You will be greatly missed by many!!!

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 American Legion.

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