Lt. Col. Clarence Ray Roper, USAF (Ret.), 78, was a long-time resident of Pueblo and Colorado Springs, where he died on February 16, 2000, at St. Francis Hospital. He was born on October 1, 1921, at Nepesta, east of Pueblo, and grew up on the Roper family ranch at Goodpasture. Roper attended Pueblo schools and graduated from Central High School (1940), Pueblo Junior College (1942), and the American International College (1954). Drafted into the Army in 1942, Roper flew 43 combat missions as a B-24 waist gunner with the 'Jolly Rogers' 90th Bomb Group in New Guinea in 1943. He returned to Pueblo where he was a gunnery instructor at Pueblo Army Air Base until the war ended. He married Bette Simms, also of Pueblo, on April 13, 1946. As a reserve officer in the Air Force, Roper was recalled to active duty in 1951 and remained in service for another 26 years. Among his assignments, he served in the Air Force Weapons Plans Division (1961-65), the U.S. mission to Turkey (1965-67); Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1968-1972); the Air Force Advisory Group, Vietnam (1972-73); and the North American Air Defense Command. He retired in Colorado Springs in 1977. Among his many commendations are the Distinguished Flying Cross (World War II), the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star (Vietnam). After retiring, Roper devoted himself to his family, gardening and love of history. He is survived by his wife, Bette Roper; three children, Robert R. (Jan) Roper of Denver, Dr. Susan Roper Dattilo of Colorado Springs, and Peter S. (Barbara) Roper of Pueblo; four grandchildren, Ryan, Ramie, Rebecca, and Nick; a sister, Ruth Roper Eden of Pueblo; and numerous relations. He will lie in state at the funeral home today from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 21, 2000, at the Montgomery & Steward Chapel, with Reverend Ray Hawkins officiating. At the conclusion of the service, the family will receive friends and relatives at the Montgomery & Steward Reception Hall. Military honors by Pueblo Veterans Ritual Team and interment will follow at 2:00 p.m. at the Beulah Cemetery, Beulah, Colorado.

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  1. Speaking for all WADES’ CAFE workers and customers who knew and shared time and space with Ray we send our sincere sympathies to his family. He was a scholar and a gentleman and he will be missed by all of us. I’m sure Ray has been given his Angel’s wings by now and he is flying with the best of them. Take off Ray and know we all thinking of you.

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know Ray, but I know Bob and his family and have heard so many great stories about Ray. I really understand and feel your loss. I know he is in a better place now.

  3. I did not have the pleasure of knowing this man, but I do know his son, Bob…
    It is a great loss for him and his family and therefore to all of us who know Bob.
    May Peace be with you and memories comfort you.
    God Bless

  4. To Bob and all of your family,
    Although we didn’t have the privilege of knowing your father, we both look forward to meeting him someday. God’s blessings to you all!

  5. Dear Ones,

    Our hearts are breaking with you at this difficult time.
    May the Lord comfort you as only He is able and pour out
    His grace on you. We love you.

    Jon, Joan, and Family

  6. Mr. Roper was an officer and a gentleman who will be fondly remembered as making the world a better place because he was in it.

    To the entire Roper clan, I am honored to be your friend. You make your Dad proud. God bless you.

  7. We know how important Bob’s special relationship with his father has been to him. So sorry to learn of your loss and what a nice way for us to be able to share in this experience. Sorry we couldn’t be there in person, Ropers! Chuck & Karen Lemoine

  8. Dear Roper friends, we are so sorry to hear that your father passed away. Kevin wasn’t at work Friday so we just got the message. I wish that we could be there with you. Please know that we will be praying for God’s peace as you travel this difficult road. Give your mother our love. Judy & Kevin

  9. We have such happy memories of our good neighbors. Betty and Ray were good to us, and to the children. We will miss Ray very much. Our prayers will be with you all as you say good bye to him.

  10. Some of my fondest memories are way back in 1946-1947 when Ray and I worked together at Cleaver Carpet and we all lived on the lower east side. It was great seeing both of you at Chops in Colorado Springs back in November. Bette, we extend our deepest sympathy.
    Paul Pumphrey

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