John D. Urban Sr., known to his family as “Poppo,” died Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in St Alphonsus hospice, Boise, Idaho. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ila “Cissie” (Koppes) Urban; three children, John Jr., Stacy and Dan; eight grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. Cissie and her children were by his side when he died.
Pop was born Aug. 22, 1927, in Anchorage, Alaska, to Edith (Edlund) and John Urban. He graduated from Anchorage High School in June 1945 and joined the Merchant Marines. He attended Boise Junior College, graduating in 1949. He met Cissie while he was a college student in Boise and they were married June 4, 1949, and began their 64-year adventure together.
The couple spent their early married life in Anchorage, where Pop worked for the National Bank of Alaska, eventually as vice president. Their three children were born in Anchorage and the family were avid skiers, hikers, boaters and campers. Pop built several houses in Anchorage and cabins in Homer, Seldovia and Alyeska. He was an active member and P.E.R. of the Anchorage Elks and enjoyed flying his private planes, duck hunting and fishing. One of the family’s favorite adventures was when Pop flew them from Anchorage to Chicago in a Piper Apache, making many stops along the way, including the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. The family built one of the first cabins at Alyeska and called it the “Hodge-Podge Lodge”.
The family moved to Seattle in 1967 where Pop owned Rhodes Bread Co. and later Campbell Industrial Supply, in addition to Rental Marts Inc., Green Connection and Airport Machinery Co. in Anchorage. In 1995, John and Cissie retired to Hailey, Idaho, where they continued to ski, build houses and go on adventures. In 2001, John and Cissie moved to Boise and added a winter home in Surprise, Ariz., in 2006. Pop’s retirement years revolved around children and grandchildren. Pop told us that one of the greatest pleasures of his life was living long enough to meet his two great-granddaughters, Kaitlyn and Lily.
Poppo’s wish was to be cremated and have his ashes scattered on Bald Mountain, in Sun Valley, Idaho, and Mt. Alyeska, Alaska. The family and close friends will gather next summer on top of Baldy to celebrate Pop’s life.