SENECA – Years before Bob “Butch” Diepen died, he told his family something: He wanted his ashes shot out of his Civil War cannon.
“When he got his cannon, that was what he wanted to do. It was just typical Dad,” daughter Kelly Coffey said. “He always wanted to make a statement.”
Diepen, a local historian and Civil War re-enactor, died April 29. A funeral service was held Saturday.
In the lead-up to the event, friends and family gathered at Diepen’s property and remembered him and his contributions to the history community.
Diepen was an advocate of teaching history to all generations – and he succeeded. Those who knew him said his enthusiasm had gotten kids as young as 12 interested in the Civil War. Diepen himself once said, “We have nothing if we lose history.”
“He definitely opened my eyes to what people went through back then and how the Civil War impacted the country,” his granddaughter, McKenna Coffey, said.
At first, she thought the cannon idea was too much. But after thinking about it, she came around.
“He always found a way to make sure I had everything I wanted and needed. I just want to do the same for him,” she said.
Taps was sounded as Diepen’s ashes settled on the trees and over the pond, commemorating the Marine veteran, father, grandfather and friend. Six rounds were fired.
The rounds had to be specially made by Civil War re-enactor and friend Robert Hauff.
“I designed the rounds several years ago,” Hauff said. “When you have a request – even a different type of request – you do your best to see it through.”
“He did a lot for the [Reddick] mansion (site of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate). He was very generous with his time and his resources,” one of Diepen’s friends, and a Civil War re-enactor, Chuck Sanders said. “He will be missed. He was a great resource and friend, a real friend.”