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Seneca Civil War buff Diepen dies

‘Butch’ visited hundreds of historical war sites

Bob “Butch” Diepen, 72, a 29-year resident of Seneca, died Sunday, April 29.

Diepen was known locally for his passion about the Civil War, both as a scholar and re-enactor.

Diepen was born on July 25, 1945. He grew up in South Holland and served in the U.S. Marines.

Diepen will be remembered for his love of travel, fishing and the outdoors as well as his quirky sense of humor and his generosity, said his daughter, Heather.

“He will be loved and missed by many,” she said.

Chuck Sanders, of Ottawa, shared Diepen’s interest in the Civil War.

“Bob was a very devoted fan of the Civil War history,” Sanders said. “He visited literally hundreds of battle sites throughout the United States. As a re-enactor Bob could portray everyone from a general to a private.”

Diepen was a charter member of the committee that annually puts on the Wallace Weekend of Civil War activities in honor of Gen. W.H.L. Wallace, a Civil War hero from Ottawa.

“He has contributed to every single event we have had,” Sanders said.

Diepen also worked on the upkeep of the small cemetery in Ottawa where Wallace is buried.

“Bob had a very large sense of humor and he was charitable to a fault,” Sanders said. “He gave of himself and his resources to everybody and was a friend to everybody he knew. I can’t say enough about him.”

Diepen was preceded in death by his wife, Diane L. Diepen (Jones) and his parents, George and Teresa Diepen. He is survived by his daughters, Kelly Diepen-Coffey (James) and Heather Sobkowich (Donald) and five grandchildren, Nicholas (18), McKenna (17), Mallory (14), Kelton (13), and Grayson (11).

At Diepen’s wish, his remains were cremated by the Neptune Society. A party in his memory is being planned for July, Heather said.

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