Cover photo for Jerold "Ken" Eppler's Obituary
Jerold "Ken" Eppler Profile Photo
1954 Jerold 2021

Jerold "Ken" Eppler

July 31, 1954 — November 28, 2021

Odessa, Texas

Ken Eppler (Jerold Kendrick Eppler) of Odessa, Texas, 67, passed away of complications of Covid on the morning of November 28, 2021. He was a cherished husband, father, friend, uncle, co-worker, and brother who will be sorely missed, more than he would have realized. Ken was born to Elvin Eppler and Mamie Lou (“Polly”) Eppler (nee Baker) on July 31, 1954 in Mason, TX. He spent much of his childhood and elementary school in Wickett, Texas, lived in various cities including Canon City, Colorado for a while, then moved to and graduated from high school in Ozona, Texas in 1972.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Elvin Eppler and Polly Eppler Mayes, his eldest brother, James (“Jim”) M. Eppler, nephew Brian Eppler, and niece Deadra Eppler.

Ken is survived by his wife Karen Eppler; daughter Barbara Eppler; brother Floyd ("Mack") McFarron Eppler and sister-in-law Sharon Eppler of Littleton, CO; sister Janet Dixon and brother-in-law Christopher Dixon of Georgetown, TX; brother Jonathon (“Jon”) Elvin Eppler and sister-in-law Jamie Eppler of Portland, TX; nephews Jimmy Eppler, Roland Lee, and Jimbo Eppler; nieces Allyson Riojas, Melissa Wilder Armstrong, Amanda Wilder, Karyn Crisp, Shawnda Eppler, and Tehya Eppler, amongst many other loved family and friends.

Ken has had many accomplishments in his lifetime and liked to say that he wore many different hats! He began working at age 10 as a welder’s helper for his father Elvin, and never stopped working. He owned and operated bakery/donut shops not once, but twice in his life: Mity Nice Bakery in 1972 and Donuts, Etc. in 1985, both in Ozona, Texas. He also worked as a manager of a convenient store, a chicken catcher, a lawn technician, various oil-field related jobs, and as an oil field mechanic for various energy-related companies including Shell Oil & Creole oil  in the late 1970s, Waukesha-Pearce Industries from 1998 to 2018, and most recently, Targa Industries.

While living in McCamey, Texas in the 80s, Ken became involved with East Side Baptist Church there and began serving in various ways while pursuing a minister’s license and ordination. He served in many ways, including leading the Royal Ambassador’s boys’ ministry there, teaching Sunday School, and many other ways. Ken and Karen also felt led to become foster parents during this time in McCamey, and were blessed to be parents to several children during that time- LaShaun, Tasha, Bill, Ray, Michael, and Vincent. Ken never ceased thinking of and praying for all the children who made his house a home.

In 1984 Ken was licensed and ordained to be a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention. That same year, Ken answered a call to be a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Ozona, Texas. He served there while also operating Donuts, Etc. until late 1989. In Ozona, he also served as chaplain for the volunteer fire department, ran an unofficial ministry to help itinerant travelers with temporary housing, food, and jobs. (Many people traveling along I-10 got stuck in Ozona). He ministered often to local prisoners in Ozona and in general tried to help the community and strangers as much as possible with the resources he had. Throughout his life, one of the verses that drove his ministries was the passage …“for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” (Matthew25:35-36)

In 1989, Ken and his family moved to Cameron, Oklahoma at the behest of pastor and friend Oscar Aguero, to serve as his associate pastor. At Cameron First Baptist for the first few years he taught Sunday School, filled in whenever needed to preach, visited people in the hospital, began a prison ministry named Freedom in Christ Ministries, helped with church administrative duties, counseled people, and also worked doing anything he could: he caught chickens, cleaned chicken houses and worked for a lawn service company while pastoring. He always worked bivocationally while in the ministry.

In 1992 after the senior pastor was called to another ministry, Ken became head pastor of FBC Cameron and continued ministering there until 1998, when his wife Karen was diagnosed with a potentially fatal blood disease.

In the face of the possibility of not being able to afford life-saving treatments, he felt led to leave the ministry at that time and find a career with health benefits, which is when he joined Waukesha-Pearce Industries in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he was able to work alongside his younger brother Jon. He took much pride in working hard, doing a great job, and saving his employers time and money, and always worked “as unto the Lord” anywhere he worked.

Ken had so many interests, hobbies, and talents as well. He was interested in history, teaching, physical therapy (at one point intended to become a physical therapist), the Bible, fishing, etc. At different points in his life he dabbled in macrame, crocheting, sketching, woodworking, wood burning, leather-working, wood-carving, cabinetry, bed frame creating, and the huge passion of his life, gardening in various ways. Almost every house in which he had any type of yard would have some sort of vegetable garden, and at one point in Cameron he had a miniature corn field, a garden, and a chicken house (that he built himself, naturally) with a dozen or so chickens!

Ken thought often of the many people who have touched his life over the years. He has left a large void in this world in his leaving, and will be greatly missed by so many. Thank you on his behalf to all those whose lives have touched and blessed his. Keep sharing his stories!

A memorial service will be held at 2pm on January 15, at the Church of Christ in Ozona, Texas. 1002 11th St, Ozona, TX 76943  All are welcome to attend.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jerold "Ken" Eppler, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Church of Christ Ozona

1002 11th St, Ozona, TX 76943

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