Obituary for Herschel Phelps Jr.
Dr. Herschel “Boppy” Randolph Phelps Jr., 86, of Greeley, passed away on December 12, 2017 at Tru Hospice in Greeley.
Herschel was born in Denver to Herschel R. Sr. and Irene (Bollen) Phelps on February 19, 1931.
He grew up in Denver and graduated from East High School in 1949, becoming an Eagle Scout before 16 and earning his way to Princeton University through a full ride Boettcher scholarship. While in college, Herschel focused on his pre-med studies and exhibited a musical talent as an accomplished pianist, pipe organist, trombonist and participant in the Princeton Men’s Chorus.
After graduating from Princeton in the spring of 1953, he married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn June Watters, on September 1, 1953, in Denver and then entered the University of Colorado Medical School. Four years later with an M.D. degree, he and Marilyn left with new son, David, for St. Louis and a residency in ophthalmology at Washington University.
While in St. Louis, their first daughter, Debbie, was born. Herschel then entered active service with the Air Force, stationed in San Antonio, Texas, at Lackland Air Force Base, where a second daughter, Sarah, was born. After finishing his term in the service, he moved his young family north to Greeley, a second home during Herschel’s youthful summers where he spent time on his grandfather John Phelps’ farm just east of Greeley, or walking the beat with his other grandfather and Greeley‘s Chief of Police, Ben Bollen.
He began his private practice as an eye surgeon at the Greeley Clinic in 1965 and later opened an office in Loveland, dividing his time between the two practices until he finished his practice years at the Loveland office in 1993.
Herschel enjoyed participating in the Greeley Chamber Choir, directing church youth choirs, and providing piano and organ accompaniment. He was for many years a Rotarian. He learned to read and write Mandarin Chinese and enjoyed his monthly Great Books Study Club. He remained an active reservist in the Air Force until his retirement at the rank of Colonel in 1988.
Herschel was a philanthropist and humanitarian, supporting local cultural and arts events and programs through the Union Colony Civic Center for Performing Arts and the UNC Performing Arts. He was a benefactor of his churches, the National MPS society, the Poudre Trail, “Tony’s Park,” Greeley Habitat for Humanity, animal rights, Pet Adoption and Rescue, and the Weld County Humane Society. He particularly enjoyed personal contributions through his several medical mission trips to China, providing cataract surgery to citizens with greatly impaired eyesight, and teaching English as a second language to people of Guadalajara, Mexico.
Herschel is survived by his children, David (Kandace) Phelps of Heath, Texas, Deborah (Robert) Touslee of Littleton, Colorado, Sarah Pyper of Phoenix, Arizona, and Benjamin (Rachel) Parman of Fort Collins, Colorado; grandchildren, Jennifer Phelps, Claire Touslee, Paige (Sean) Dunshee, and Brook Pyper; a great grandchild due in February 2018, Margot Dunshee; his companion, Ruth Francis; and a large, loving extended family.
He was preceded in death by his wife; his grandson, Chad Pyper; his parents; and his beloved Saint Bernard-Boxer mix and best friend, Tony.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, December 18, 2017, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 1800 21st Ave, Greeley, CO 80631. Inurnment will be scheduled in the spring of 2018.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the “Weld County Humane Society” and/or the “Greeley Habitat for Humanity” in care of Northern Colorado Crematory, 700 8th St, Greeley, CO 80631.