Ivan C. Hopkins, 87, of Shoshone passed away peacefully at his home on Jan. 5, 2021.
Ivan was born on March 29, 1933 in Huston, Idaho, the son of Guy Hopkins and Helen McKinney Hopkins. He was raised on the family farm in the Sunny Slope area near Caldwell and graduated from Notus High School in 1951. Ivan was a star football player in high school, but rather than continue with football at the College of Idaho, he instead went to the University of Idaho to pursue a degree in agriculture. While at the University, he became reacquainted with Esther Andersen whom he had previously met in 1948 on a cross country train trip to attend National 4-H Congress in Chicago. They married in 1954, and then graduated from the University of Idaho in 1955.
Following graduation, Ivan and Esther lived for a short while near Caldwell where Ivan worked on the family farm. Ivan was later drafted into the army and after discharge returned to the farm.
Soon after, Ivan accepted his first position with the University of Idaho Cooperative Extension Service in Burley, as assistant county agriculture agent. In 1963, the family moved to Shoshone, beginning a distinguished career as U of I County Agriculture Extension agent, serving 38 years for Cassia, Lincoln, Minidoka and Jerome counties.
Ivan was proud to be a “rural farm kid”. Agriculture was a way of life for him. He was widely recognized as an expert in irrigation, weed management, and crops especially wheat, barley, and potatoes. The favorite part of his day was to be out walking fields with farmers and friends to improve efficiency while maximizing yields. His favorite motto was “Don’t let your office be too comfortable. Get out and see what’s happening in the field.”
Ivan’s expertise was recognized over the years with many awards, too numerous to list. Some of the more notable awards include the Idaho Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Agriculture, Lifetime Achievement award from the Idaho Grain Producers and installation to the Idaho 4-H Hall of Fame. Ivan was pleased to be one of few “crops guys” to be inducted into the Livestock Hall of Fame. Ivan served his profession at a national level as an active member of the National Association of County Agriculture Agents, holding state and national offices. Ivan also had the opportunity to work overseas with the organization Volunteers for Overseas Cooperative Assistance. He served tours in Armenia, after the break-up of the Soviet Union, advising farmers how to improve yields of wheat. In Egypt, he worked to improve irrigation and harvest of potatoes. Another of his favorite achievements was the establishment of the South-Central Idaho 4-H Camp north of Ketchum. Ivan was most pleased with the reward that came from helping kids through 4-H and any activity that promoted learning and growth in agriculture, gardening and natural sciences.
Always involved in community activities in Shoshone and Rupert, Ivan was a member of Rotary Club and Kiwanis, served on boards for Shoshone City Planning and Zoning, Golden Years Senior Center in Shoshone and Christ Episcopal Church in Shoshone and Trinity Episcopal Church in Rupert. Ivan travelled extensively throughout the United States and Idaho. What often would start out as business meetings, usually turned into extended family vacations of adventure and exploring the country. Ivan loved camping, fishing, and hunting and enjoyed many outdoor excursions with family and friends.
Ivan is survived by three children, Terry (Debbie) of Sioux Falls So. Dakota, Helen of Gooding, ID, and Guy of Shoshone ID.; two grandchildren, Angela (Sarah) of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tom of Sioux Falls, So. Dakota; two great-grandchildren Addie and Lexi; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family also wishes to express thanks to Jane Houst and Steven Stock for their friendship and companionship given to Ivan.
In consideration for safety precautions due to Covid guidelines, graveside services only will be held on Tues. Jan 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm at the Shoshone Cemetery. Another celebration of life gathering will be announced later this year.
Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service – Shoshone Chapel.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Ivan and Esther Hopkins Horticulture Scholarship with the University of Idaho Foundation; or to Golden Year’s Senior Center in Shoshone.
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