Unfortunately, on June 10, 2023, Charles Merlin Lepper passed away after 10 years of living as a double lung transplant recipient. Charlie was born on January 29, 1947 at the family home on Moore Avenue in Indianapolis, delivered by his father. Charlie’s parents were the late Leroy Lepper and Vernell Hack-Lepper-Rice. Charlie was the 7th son out of 10 boys and one girl.
Charlie attended the Seventh Day Adventist parochial school Indianapolis Junior Academy through the 8th grade while his family lived in Haughville on Indianapolis west side. After moving back to the east side, he then attended Howe High School. It was when he moved to the east side that he and Sharon first met in August 1963. Charlie quit high school to join the US Army in 1964 and obtained his GED in the Army, otherwise he would have graduated from Howe in 1965. Charlie had two careers consecutively his whole adult life until retirement. The first was begun upon discharge from the U.S. Army working in the concrete trade and he continued with that trade for 45 years until he developed pulmonary fibrosis. His second career was begun in 1972 when he joined the Indianapolis Fire Department. Charlie completed 35 years as an Indianapolis Firefighter and spent 30 of those years as an Engineer on the Ladder and Aerial Ladder crew. Charlie was a skilled scuba diver and performed as a rescue diver and worked in tactical rescue along with other specialties in the Fire Department.
Besides being a source of never-ending jokes and stories Charlie was an avid fisherman and along with his best friend of 40+ years Dick Coffin, he enjoyed that hobby as earnestly as if it were a job requirement. Ice fishing and wild salmon fishing were part of his hobby but his favorite was crappie fishing at the lake. Essential to his love of risk taking were the many years he enjoyed riding his motorcycles, partaking in racing and hill climbing. He was a deer hunter and mushroom seeker and participated in multiple mission trips through his church. He became a church trustee and often volunteered at food pantries and church events. Charlie also was a farmer at heart and after giving up the party life he then owned a 40-acre farm for over 45 years that he turned into an apple, peach and plum orchard.
Charlie was pre-deceased by his parents, his only sister, Hilda Louise Lepper-Stephens-Glasscock and his brothers, Gilbert Jocko Lepper, James Wilbur Lepper, Raymond Leroy Lepper, Robert Joseph Lepper, Harley Edward Lepper, and Randy Gordon Lepper.
Charlie is survived by his wife Sharon Howell-Taulman-Lepper, his daughter Jill Denise Lepper-Ratz-(Markus) Robinson, grandchildren Logan Christine Ratz (Shane Meredith), Connor Riley Ratz and Nicholas Alexander Robinson. Also survived by step children Chris (Cheryl) Taulman and Todd (Patti) Taulman. Step grandchildren Megan (Devin) Taulman-Chellberg, John (Sarah) Taulman-Hawthorne, Sara (Jasper) James-Moffitt, Emma (Jordan) James-Willis, and Drew James. Step great-grandchildren Parker Alan Willis, Mara Hawthorne, Wesley Orion Chellberg and Wyatt Moffitt. Survived by brothers Ronald (Kathy) Lepper, David (Ronna) Lepper and Tim (Marsha Lepper). Survived by his “bonus” son Christopher Ratz and by multiple cousins, nieces and nephews.
Showing will be Friday June 23, 2023 from 4 pm – 8 pm at Flanner & Buchanan, Washington Park East and on Saturday June 24, 2023 from 10 am – 12 noon with services beginning at 12 noon at Flanner & Buchanan, Washington Park East. There will be a Drive by with the Indianapolis Fire Department from Washington Park East to IFD Firehouse #29’s at East Raymond Street & Pleasant Run Parkway. The procession will return to Washington Park East where Military Services will be held at graveside.
If you wish to make Memorial donations in lieu of flowers, please direct them to Habitat for Humanity as one of Charlie’s favorite charities.