Edwin LaVerne Epp
Edwin LaVerne Epp was born on July 16, 1950 and grew up in Henderson, Nebraska. He attended Henderson Public Schools, Bethel College, and the University of Nebraska Law School. He married Marilyn Crabb, with whom he recently celebrated their 50-year anniversary. LaVerne passed away Monday, September 18, 2023.
His first career was practicing law with the Adrian & Walker Law Firm in Newton, Kansas. In 1986 he helped create the Retirement Management Company (RMC), joined their executive team, and moved with his wife and three children to Lawrence, Kansas. After helping to sell RMC in 2001, he was asked to serve as President of Bethel College, his alma mater in North Newton, KS, where he served until 2006. In 2008 he helped create the Bioscience and Technology Business Center (BTBC) with support from the Kansas Bioscience Authority and the Lawrence Regional Technology Center. As Executive Chair of the BTBC, he helped spur economic development and job creation in Northeast Kansas, eventually creating the KU Innovation Park, where he worked until his death.
His various careers were tied together by his love for learning and tackling challenges. He was an avid reader of Ralph Waldo Emerson and taught an Interterm course at Bethel College for several years entitled, “Emerson Meets Management”. He especially enjoyed mentoring students, providing them counsel and perspective as they made decisions for their own life direction.
Playing running back for his high school football team, he had a lifelong love of sports and enjoyed watching the Kansas City Chiefs, the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, and various KU teams. He also enjoyed spending summers in Santa Fe, NM, where he could satisfy his love of Classical Music by attending the Santa Fe Chamber Orchestra and Santa Fe Opera productions. Being able to savor the mountain climate there with his family each summer was a special joy.
He enjoyed being “in charge,” especially at meetings, where things needed to move along at the pace he deemed appropriate and to the point. Brevity in speech was paramount; too many words cluttered the environment. More than anything, he loved his family: Marilyn Epp (Crabb), his wife, Tyler (Melissa) of Plantation, FL, Paul of Kansas City, and Susie of Lawrence, KS. His grandchildren, Malone (10) and Trey (8), to whom he was “Pops,” were very dear to him.
There will be a memorial service in his honor at Plymouth Congregational Church at 10:00am on Saturday, September 23, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQmlX9dVMd8
Memorials in honor of LaVerne can be made to the LaVerne Epp Memorial Fund at the Douglas County Community Foundation (DCCFoundation.org), and will benefit the KU Innovation Park (KUInnovationPark.com) and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.