Cover photo for Martin L. Lepley's Obituary
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Martin L. Lepley

March 5, 1922 — July 5, 2019

Martin L. Lepley

Martin L. Lepley slipped the bonds of earth early on the morning of July 5th, 2019, exactly four months past his 97th birthday, and only hours shy of the same day and time his beloved wife Jo passed away in 2012.

Martin was born of strong German stock on March 5th, 1922 to a family anchored in the valleys and mountains of Appalachian Pennsylvania since the mid seventeen hundreds. A child of the depression, his parents Cora and Murray Lepley taught him, and his brothers and sisters, thrift, self reliance, belief in the American dream, and an ethos that demanded excellence, while treating others fairly and with respect. Martin’s father Murray was a carpenter by trade, but family history suggests he could master any challenge, a trait that seems to have been passed on to his youngest son. Murray was supported by his wife Cora, who was fastidious, jovial, and who fostered a loving household.

Martin was blessed with the mind of an inventor, and the hands of a surgeon. His ability to understand and fix things was recognized at an early age, and by the summer of 1942, at the tender young age of 20, he was working in a guarded concrete bunker at the Middletown Air-Depot at Olmsted, now the Harrisburg International Airport, repairing and calibrating aviation instruments…including the Norden bombsight. Martin joined the U. S. Navy in February 1944. He was honorably discharged in 1946. He achieved the rank of Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class, and was awarded the American Theater Ribbon and Victory Medal. His separation papers show that he had already decided to pursue watchmaking as a career. That pursuit led him to the Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, Pa., one of the world’s preeminent training schools for watchmaking, engraving, and jewelry work. Hugh Mosbacher of Mosbacher’s Jewelry Store in Meadville had also attended Bowman Technical, and his search for a qualified watchmaker and gemologist led him to Martin. Martin joined Mosbacher’s in 1948, and kept the watches and clocks of legions of local folks running on time until Mosbacher’s closed their doors in the seventies. Martin continued to ply his craft for years after he retired, and his skills continued to be sought long after he was no longer able to perform the delicate touch needed to make repairs to his satisfaction.

Martin was an avid hunter and fisherman, and he loved to play golf. He was a proud member of the International Order of Odd Fellows for well over fifty years, and was most recently aligned with Fallowfield Lodge 1128 in Atlantic, Pa. He and his wife were avid antique collectors and restorers, and Martin devoted a great deal of time studying his family’s history.

Martin married Josephine Hoffheins in 1942. They remained faithful to each other until her passing in 2012. They are survived by two sons, Don Lepley of Susanville, California, and Dick and his wife Joanne Lepley of Conneaut Lake. Among the others who will deeply miss Martin are Dick and Joanne’s sons Bryan and David, David’s wife Deb, and great grandchildren Garrett and Ashlyn Lepley.

The family would like to also thank long time family friends Vivian Bauer and Joyce Mizner for the many acts of kindness directed toward Martin over the last few years. And we can’t thank enough the many residents and staff members of Juniper Village in Meadville who were attracted to Martin’s self-deprecating sense of humor, and his gentle manner. Their friendship and care made Juniper a wonderful place to call home. Martin met old friends at Juniper, and rapidly made new ones. We also want to thank the caring folks from Lakeland Area Hospice who offered their special way of caring during Martin’s final days.

All arrangements are being handled by the STEPHEN P. MIZNER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, INC., 404 CHESTNUT ST., MEADVILLE, and as Martin requested there will be no services conducted. Instead, it is the family’s wish that all who knew Martin will take the time to remember a man who lived his life in a highly ethical manner, who kept promises made, and who made people smile.

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