+ Dr. Conrad Toepfer
It is in the hope of the Resurrection that we commend the soul of the faithful servant, + Dr. Conrad Toepfer to our Risen Lord. “Connie” reposed in the Lord today, on April 20, Bright Monday 2020, in the Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville, NY, after spending time earlier this month in intensive care for a severe bout of pneumonia and gall bladder surgery. It was Connie’s hope to return home to his beloved Jeanne to spend more time supporting her in her own health needs. However, our Lord foresaw another path for His servant Conrad – “Connie” – who served the Lord faithfully throughout his life.
Both Connie and Jeanne came to the Orthodox Church as adults, where Connie held a leadership role in the St. Stephen Serbian Orthodox Church. He served as Parish Council President for 2 years, 1982 and 1983. He had a close spiritual and personal relationship with three priests, including Fr. Srboljub Bulich, Fr. Rastko Trbuhovich, and Fr. Vladislav Golic, Connie’s current spiritual father. After serving as Parish Council President, Connie continued to play an important advisory role in the Parish, supporting charitable projects both here and abroad. He was a supporter of OCMC, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, as well as being a great supporter of the mental health and wellness clinic founded by Fr. Bulich upon his return to Serbia. This clinic was the only one of its kind in Serbia at the time of the Bosnia War, and it served a huge population needing emotional support during that time. Connie kept our parish aware of the needs of the clinic, and encouraged us to support the clinic along with him, which the parish did. Connie also served as a consultant to our Christian Education program, both on a local and diocesan level. Being a professor in Education at the University at Buffalo, Connie donated his considerable education knowledge to our parish and to our national church, lecturing at conferences when called upon to help.
Connie was devoted to the worship of the Orthodox Church. As many times as his health permitted, Connie chanted the special reading from Ezekiel, the “Dry Bones” Holy Friday reading, in his powerful voice. This made the Holy Friday service very meaningful to all who attended. We have missed him these past several years due to his poor health and his inability to attend the service.
Connie and Jeanne have two children, Katherine and Michael. One grandson, Julian, made Connie especially proud last year in July, when he and his wife Diana became the parents of the 4th generation of Toepfers. Judah, great-grandson of Connie, filled Connie with joy. Connie enjoyed several visits with Judah prior to his illness becoming so severe earlier this year.
In addition to being a most devoted husband, caring for his beloved Jeanne, Connie was an incredibly faithful father. In this last year, when daughter Katherine was hospitalized for almost all of the winter of 2019-2020, Connie advocated for services for her, for a speedy diagnosis and continued adjustment to her care. Writing daily on Facebook and Messenger, Connie detailed the stages of her severe diabetes, urging her medical staff to become more involved in searching for the most appropriate interventions that would support and heal his dear daughter. He daily texted until late March, 2020, when his own severe illnesses of pneumonia and gall bladder surgery made texting impossible. He was moved from the hospital to the Elderwood Rehab Facility in Williamsville, NY.
Connie often wrote of how grateful he was for the spiritual attention Fr. Vladislav Golic, his parish priest, offered to both him and Kathy through frequent visits to both the hospital and the Rehab Center. Connie is remembered by many at our Parish as a faithful and devoted Orthodox Christian, a talented musician, a brilliant educator, and a genuine human being: ready to help all those who came to him, never forgetting our Lord and the benefits He had bestowed on him and his family. One of Connie’s colleagues wrote of him today: One of the most brilliant minds in the field of Middle Level Education passed away. Rest In Peace Conrad Toepfer.
May the angels carry your soul to the Heavens, and may the Risen Lord await you with open arms.
"Well done, good and faithful servant;
enter you into the joy of your lord."
Memory Eternal, Connie.
Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!
Protinica Victoria Trbuhovich