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October 29, 2012
By Staff Report
A campus memorial service for the late University coach and administrator Keith Loper will be held on Monday, Nov. 12, from 1:30-4 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom.
Loper, 86, passed away on Oct. 23.
Loper was a former head baseball and wrestling coach, assistant football coach and chairperson of the Recreation, Physical Education and Dance Department at the University until his retirement in 1994.
Loper, known for his jovial, upbeat personality and constant smile, was warmly remembered by his former players, colleagues and members of his family in several articles in the Reno Gazette-Journal.
"He was a wonderful human being," Ron Bailey, who played football for Loper in Brighton, Colo, and later worked with Loper at the University as an athletic trainer and instructor, told the RGJ. "His thing was to make it a place where everyone liked to come to work. He made sure we had integrity and honesty and played the game as it should be played."
Former women's swimming coach Jerry Ballew said of Loper, "He'll be sorely missed by a lot of people. He was a really good man."
Gary Powers, the current Wolf Pack baseball coach who served as an assistant under Loper, said, "He was one of the most caring individuals and most loyal individuals you could ever know. I can't say enough about how much he meant to me. He was the most wonderful person you could ever have a chance to be associated with."
Loper, a native of Olathe, Colo., and a World War II veteran, was a graduate of Colorado A&M (now Colorado State) University, where he played football and baseball. Following teaching, administrative and coaching positions in Wyoming, Colorado and Washington, Loper and his family moved to Reno in 1967 when Loper joined the University faculty. He became chair of the Recreation, Physical Education and Dance Department in 1975.
During his time as chairperson, Loper was known for his quick smile and ability to relate to all of his students. He advised more than 500 students and served on numerous University committees. He was such a presence at Lombardi Recreation that even during his lunch hours he could still be found in the building, playing a high-quality game of racquetball with students or other faculty members.
Loper is survived by his wife, Diane, and children Kara, Ray, Kay, Kim and Kandice, as well as eight grandchildren.