Dr. Charles Epperson Jr. ’59 Lived the DePauw Experience
The DePauw community lost a wonderful man on Nov. 14, 2017, someone whose vast interests caused Judie, his wife of 37 years, to dub him “a Renaissance man.” Distinguished in his vocation, devoted to books, animals, art, flying airplanes and travel, Charles Epperson took what he learned at DePauw – the importance of hard work, the necessity of lifelong learning and the pursuit of excellence – and applied it to his life.
Charlie Epperson spent his childhood in Evansville, then followed his father, uncle and aunt to DePauw, where he studied pre-med and pledged his father’s fraternity, Delta Upsilon. His closest, lifelong friends and steady traveling companions were former DePauw trustee and classmate Andrew J. Paine Jr. ’59 and his wife, Jane Medaris Paine ’60.
Epperson served his country as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and planned to fly jets professionally until back surgery forced him to change his mind. After a medical discharge, he attended the Indiana University School of Dentistry, spent more than four decades practicing dentistry and taught for 28 years in the crown and bridge department of the school.
With jets out of the question, Charlie flew gliders and small power planes. He also painted and sculpted, even taking a life drawing class for two semesters. Lake-living meant Charlie could take up sailing again, a skill he learned from his classmate, Joe Allen, while they were at DePauw. The Eppersons also competed in hunter-jumper horse shows in Florida and throughout the Midwest. They owned and showed Affenpinchers and Briards at dog shows, including the iconic Westminster Kennel Club Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Generosity and philanthropy were hallmarks of Charlie Epperson’s life. He especially believed in sharing his legacy with DePauw, where he began his lifelong love of books and learning. “The DePauw education ‘took’ on Charlie,” Judie said. “He was interested in almost everything; his tastes were catholic, and there was always, always a book in his hands. He never – and I do mean never – left the house without a book.”
Judie notes that her husband believed it was his responsibility to be generous, and they shared the philosophy. “If you are fortunate enough to enjoy success,” Judie said, “it’s your responsibility to give back to others.” With this in mind, the Eppersons are providing generously for DePauw through a planned bequest, with the expectation that their gift will encourage and affect liberal arts education for many years into the future.
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