Services for Brig. Gen. John Reppert set in Anna
Brig. Gen. John Clayton Reppert, U.S. Army (Ret.) passed away peacefully at his daughter’s home in Delaware, Ohio, surrounded by his loving family, on October 11, 2019, at the age of 78.
His life was a testament to the things he cherished most – his family and friends, God, and our great country.
John was born on September 16, 1941, in Anna, the son of Lewida Corrine Richards and Henry Clay Reppert.
He enjoyed playing football for the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School Wildcats and working at the family owned newspaper, The Gazette-Democrat.
At Kansas State University, he met the love of his life, Patricia Ann Rash, and majored in journalism while serving as the editor of the school paper and as president of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.
He completed his undergraduate studies and a master of science degree in journalism, with the intention of returning to live in Anna and serve as the editor of The Gazette-Democrat.
A short while after marrying Pat and settling in Anna, the Army offered him the unique opportunity to travel abroad. John was drafted as a 25-year-old private and sent to Officer Candidate School before serving in Vietnam as a Signal Corps officer.
John proudly served in the Army from 1966 to 1998.
He channeled his love of learning into a career focused on the former Soviet Union. He obtained a master of arts degree from the University of Kansas in Soviet Studies and a Ph.D. in International Relations from George Washington University.
His desire to learn and teach led him to programs at Harvard, West Point, the Army War College, the Navy War College, the Armed Forces Staff Colleges, the Defense Language Institute, the Defense Intelligence School and his launching of classroom instructions for enlisted soldiers in Korea and Russia. John was either a teacher or a student for 30 of his 33 years of military service.
John excelled in foreign languages and became fluent in Russian, often serving as an interpreter for senior officials.
While at Fort Bragg, he commanded an Airborne battalion. As a Foreign Area Officer, FAO, John and his family lived in Germany for five years and he was assigned three times to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, culminating in the position of Defense Attaché.
In that capacity, John played a key role in shaping American military policy and in providing advice to the military and political leaders who emerged from the new countries that were formed with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
John’s last assignment was as director of the Onsite Inspection Agency, which was responsible for monitoring Russia’s destruction of nuclear weapons, in accordance with agreed upon treaties.
John earned numerous awards and medals for his service, including the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Bronze Star.
Following his retirement from the Army, John served as the executive director for research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
John organized conferences and visits with leaders from all around the world.
He was interviewed frequently by radio and TV shows, drawing on his expertise of security issues. John was selected for membership in the Council on Foreign Relations.
After Harvard, John served twice as the dean of the College of International and Security Studies, Marshall European Center in Garmisch, Germany.
There, John was in a position to mentor future FAOs, as well as officers from other countries. John was beloved by the faculty and students for his servant-based leadership style.
Based on his career accomplishments, John is one of only 86 Beta Theta Pi members in the history of the fraternity to be awarded the Oxford Cup.
Throughout his 26 moves, John took every opportunity to participate in each of the local Presbyterian churches. He was involved as a Sunday School teacher, service reader and gave the occasional guest sermon. He was a long-standing member of Arlington Presbyterian Church, where each of his children had their weddings.
John ultimately retired in St. Pete Beach, Fla., where he and Pat became active members of the Academy of Senior Professional (ASPEC), based at Eckerd College. John gave presentations to ASPEC members on an almost weekly basis, with topics ranging from current international events to his experiences in Russia and other countries. John proudly served as president of ASPEC for two years.
John was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He spent his final years caring for his wife Pat, as she dealt with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
John is survived by his daughter Dawn and her husband Aaron, and his son Scott and his wife Lisa; brothers Joe and Jerry; and his 10 grandchildren Thomas, Naomi Ruth, Clayton, Rebekah, Margaux, Hannah, Miriam, Susanna, Benjamin and Mathew.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Anna.
Interment will be in the Anna City Cemetery. Graveside military rites will be conducted by Carroll P. Foster Post No. 3455 of the VFW in Anna and the Illinois Army National Guard military honors team of Marion.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna.
Memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (act.alz.org). Envelopes will be available at the funeral home and at the church.
To leave online condolences for the family, visit www.rendlemanhilemanfh.com.
Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna is in charge of arrangements.