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Eli Koparian's Passing

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by dickotto, Dec 4, 2010.

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  1. dickotto

    dickotto TS Member

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    Eli Koparian

    Eli Koparian once again made the local newspaper, although not as he would have liked. Eli's obituary was posted in today's Journal/Sentinel. His last few years had been very difficult for him, health wise and he had been in nursing care for the past 2 or 3 years. Funeral details will be in Sunday's newspaper.
    He had been an active trapshooter since his teenage days where he worked as a loader/puller for the Milwaukee Gun Club. As he grew into adulthood he became an active member in the club and was a long time officer of the club. Eli was a great storyteller and could captivate you describing his accomplishments, adventures and mis-adventures on the trap fields. He was truly one of a kind and once you met him, you were not likely to forget him.
    He was Affectionatly known to his friends as "the camel tender". He loved to bet nickels with me on the results of our competitions. We would generally greet each other with "nickels baby, nickels". Had lots of great times with him. Eli's shooting accomplishments got him on the WI All-State Trap Team several times and was also honored as a member of the WI Trapshooting Hall of Fame. Trapshoots just weren't the same, once his health failed and he could not be at the gun clubs. I'm going to miss the old "Camel Tender".
     
  2. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    "Dougy, Dougy...don't forget my senior discount"

    Doug Braker
     
  3. scratcher

    scratcher TS Member

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    Eli taught me to shoot trap in the 60's. He always called me 'the kid'. An often curmudgeon demeanor with a heart of gold. I will miss him......

    Dick Gries
     
  4. RENOSTEVE

    RENOSTEVE Member

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    I have only met a few Armenian trapshooters, sounds like this community lost a good one, I should have liked to have known the man. Steve Matossian
     
  5. thunder

    thunder Active Member

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    I had the honor to shoot with Eli during the Kolar Handicap Event in 2004 Wisconsin State Shoot. Eli was shooting off a stool, on the second station Eli fell when trying to move his stool, I went over and helped him up with the rest of the squad, I said Eli I will move your stool from now on, I received that warm smile. I moved his stool the rest of the event from station to station. I believe I won the Kolar Handicap Championship that year because of Eli, every-time I moved his stool Eli would say "stay with them kid, you can do it". That was how I met a wonderful man and became friends with Eli. Every year we would talk at the state shoot. This year at state I had the feeling that I may not see my friend again and he would go to the real trap-shooters hall of fame. Eli I will miss you my friend. My family would like to express our sympathy to Eli's family.
    Andy and Monica Hall
     
  6. omgb

    omgb Banned User Banned

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    Steve, come shoot with us at OakTree in Newhall CA some time. We have lots of Armenian trap shooters.

    Sounds like Eli was a real sportsman. My prayers are with his family and friends

    R J Talley
     
  7. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like we lost another really nice, fun trapshooter. Sending condolences to his family and friends.
     
  8. mette56

    mette56 Well-Known Member

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    thunder,

    Beautiful story.

    Deepest sympothy to family and friends,

    milt
     
  9. geterdone

    geterdone Member

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    Eli knew how to improve ANYONE’S shooting and he was not hesitant to tell them what they did incorrectly as they came off the line. Most didn't want to hear it, : )…. but in my case his points helped me and both my son's, Andrew and TJ, as both became A shooters. As Eli's health declined, my wife Susan gave him our number and told him to call if he ever needed transportation. Only 3 weeks later he called. Eli had lost his driver's license and requested we make a Saturday grocery trip for he and Mary.
    This led to 2 years of weekly transportation runs for the Koparian's and more interesting history and stories than I could ever write down. Both children of immigrants, Eli with military service in WWII and each retired with 30+ years of service at the VA hospital in Milwaukee. Pulling the manual set traps at the Milwaukee Gun Club over Lake Michigan got Eli big tips from Capone’s boys when they were shooting at MGC during the prohibition. Eli claimed he would ride his bike home, give the money from his mob tips to his mom for food and get whipped. She claimed he was stealing as no one had money like that during the 1930’s recession! LOL!
    I once asked him about the need for the walker and his back problems, he replied it was from digging graves for the veterans. I mentioned it must have been hard work even with a back-hoe. "Son, we didn't have back-hoes then, we dug 'em!" He shared that he personally dug his fathers grave and buried him in the Veteran’s Cemetery. His father emigrated during WWI and enlisted, fighting the duration for the U.S. on the front lines. His father had been an Armenian “night fighter” when the Turks were trying to eradicate the Armenians prior to coming to the U.S.
    I want to mention, that Eli was most proud of the time he spent with the Wheelchair Vets in the ATA. It started with him encouraging a few at the VA Hospital to come out and give it a try. He told him they didn't need to stand to crush ‘dem targets. Eli never smiled bigger than when one of his boys, as he called them, was on the line.

    John Trotter
     
  10. geterdone

    geterdone Member

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    Visitation Monday 12/6/2010 from 4:00-6:00. Vigil at 6pm.
    Location- Bevsek-Verbick Funeral Home 10210 West Lincoln Ave West Allis, WI

    Mass is Tuesday at St. Florian Catholic Church at 10am.
     
  11. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    I think we all enjoy hearing stories about Eli. If you have some more to post, please do so. They are very nice.
     
  12. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    I originally met Eli in 1970 my first year of shooting. Eli was left handed and so am I. Over the years Eli and I had our up's and downs, but regardless, he gave me some good advice about shooting over the years, and he was a good man and good husband to his wife. If he liked you, you had a friend for life.

    The first time that I saw him shoot he was using his left handed Remington 870 with the gold camel on the receiver. He also would put a white center bead in all his guns, and place a small gold coin in the bottom of the pistol grip. He was a very very fast shooter. Anything that Eli had he took real good care of it. He loved his Cadillac cars and always put a set of michelin tires on them. His tires always had a gold pin stripe around the tire, as it looked pretty neat.

    First thing he would do when he purchased a Cadillac was to set up his trunk for all his shooting garb. He would hang numerous shooting vest inside the lid of the trunk and place all his other items neatly in his trunk. His cars and guns were immaculate.

    I have numerous stories that Eli told me. Here is one of them.
    As previously stated Eli had worked as a trap boy at the old Milwaukee gun club on the shores of beautiful lake Michigan. Vic Reinders was in his hay day back then and very well known. Eli got fed up one day with Vic and some of the ATA shooters complaining about the targets that day. Eli was in the trap house and he brought a mirror with him that he kept inside the trap house. He would hold the mirror slightly out the corner of the house to see when it was Vic's turn to shoot. Eli said he would make sure that Vic's target was not set properly sometimes so he would get a wierd looking target. After a few of these targets that Eli gave Vic, Vic stopped the squad. The president of the club was called and supposely Vic wanted Eli reprimanded. The president of the club talked to Eli in private and asked him if he was causing the targets to come out weird so Vic would get some weird targets? Eli admitted to that, because he said he was upset that he was complaining about the targets before he ever did anything to them. The president said he was sending Eli home for the day. Eli said if you do, I will get all the trap boys to come home with me. Make a long story short, before the shoot was over that day, Eli and his fellow trap boys all got raises if they stayed to finish the shoot.

    One other piece of information that few people know. When Eli was in school, guess who was the female gym teacher at his school? No other than Tommy Reinders, Vic's future wife. Eli said she was beautiful. I am sure Eli and Vic are shooting somewhere as I write this tonight. I hope they both meet in the shoot off.
    Steve Balistreri
     
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