Barbara Pauline Rose Mall Kopke

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Barbara was one of the charter members of Irving Park Gospel Hall, which in 1951 sprouted Norwood Gospel Chapel and Portage Park Gospel Chapel, and eventually Arlington Countryside Church, Union Ridge Gospel Chapel, and the Norwood Gospel Assembly of Korean, which in the mid-1980's became Emmaus Gospel Assembly and the San Jung Korean Assembly, later known as Chicago Korean Bible Chapel.


Barbara Pauline Rose Mall Kopke was born Feb. 28, 1902 and died Feb. 8, 1983. She married Arthur John Kopke. Arthur was born April 18, 1899 and died March 16, 1961. Barbara and Arthur were both born and died in Chicago. She is known to have been with her brother John and sister Agnes at the early days of Irving Park Gospel Hall, which became Norwood Gospel Chapel. Arthur served in leadership with Norwood, including as a music director, and died unexpectedly when youngest daughter Darlene A. Kopke was only nineteen.

In 1920, Arthur was living with his parents, and working as an assistant foreman for “Pubber Fore Manufacturing Co.” By 1930, he was married to Barbara, living at 5834 Byron St., Chicago, and employed in the building industry as a painter.

Arthur John Kopke

Her husband Arthur was born to Daniel William (1873-1936) and Johanna M. Heidrich (1877-1955) Kopke, who married on Dec. 5, 1894 when Daniel was 21, and Johanna was 18. His father, Daniel, was employed in the 1930’s as a carpenter, although in 1918 he was working for the American Chicle Company, the chewing gum manufacturers best known for “Chiclets”. Daniel was the son of Karl David (1836-1914), and Helen Becker (1831-1918) Kopke. Both were born in Germany, and died in Chicago. Karl was the son of Johann (1804-1882), and Hedwig (1805-1879) Kupke.

Lizzie Kopke

Arthur Kopke had one sister, Lizzie Helena Ernestina Kopke, born Mar. 14, 1895 in Chicago, and died Sept. 3, 1960 in a suburb of Chicago called Rolling Meadows. She married John Fredrick Funck (1893-1935). In 1930, he was a laborer for a lithographer. It is unknown whether Lizzie was involved with the assemblies. They had several children:

  • Wilbert John Funck (1917-1993), died in Alamogordo, New Mexico, employed in 1940 as a lithographer.
  • Dorothy Ruth Funck Proebstle (1920-2000), died in Neenah, Wisconsin;
  • Ralph Harold Funck (b. 1922) married Roberta Mary Howland Mattison (b. 1928). Both may be still living.
  • Pearl E. Funck Schneider (b. 1928?) married Everett Harlan Schneider (1922-2004), who served in the Army during WWII.

Lois Barbara Kopke Nelsen

Their eldest daughter Lois Barbara was born April 22, 1928, and eventually married Richard Howard “Debs” Nelsen, Sr. (1927-1993), son of Charles and Hilda (Nicoly) Nelsen. Richard served fourteen months in the Navy, just out of high school. She would have been raised at Irving Park Gospel Hall, and it is presently unknown whether she continued in adulthood.

In 1948, when her husband Richard was 21, he submitted a questionnaire to the American Baseball Bureau with an ambition to play in the Major Leagues. He indicated having served as a champion in 1943 with Edison Park, and in 1947 with the Norwood Drivers. He indicated to them that while in high school, he knocked “in 3 runs with two singles and a home run to beat Chicago’s Lane Tech High School champions 3-2. He also noted as an interesting or unusual experience while in the Navy, “sliding into second base with a pair of shorts as my only clothing… you can guess what the result was.” Lois died Dec. 31, 1999.

Darlene A. Kopke

Darlene A. Kopke is the youngest, and only surviving daughter of A. Jack Kopke and Barbara Mall Kopke. She was born around 1941, and is presently in fellowship with Northwest Gospel Chapel in Chicago, but gave her life to Norwood Gospel Chapel from the earliest days as a child at Irving Park Gospel Hall. She started an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship meeting at the University of Eastern Illinois in the mid-1960's that continued at least throughout her education.

Darlene taught for thirty years in the Schiller Park area of Chicago, half of which to 2nd graders and the other half to 3rd graders. She never married, and has no children, but she gave over 25 years of her life to teaching Sunday School at Norwood Gospel Chapel, as well as directing DVBS, and involved with the worship team. She was one of the last remaining members when Norwood closed in recent years, and donated her historical archive to Dick Sanders. She gave a phone interview on November 5, 2019 with Doug Engle that was very illuminating concerning early days at both Norwood, from experience, and Irving Park, from anecdote.