Philip area doctor Coen Klopper passes away Sunday

The Philip area lost a great member of our community this week. Dr. Coen Klopper passed away, Sunday evening. Dr. Klopper came to Philip from South Africa. At 44 years of age, Coen and his wife Trudie brought their three children to Philip in 1991. The late Dr. George Mangulis was excited to introduce Klopper to the area and the entities of Philip Health Services, Inc. (PHSI) in June of 1991. 
In August of 1991, after the legal paperwork and combined efforts of a governor, two senators, and several Philip residents Dr. Klopper received an employment authorization which allowed him to stay and work in the United States indefinitely.
In an article of the Pioneer Review August 22, 1991, written by then editor Andrea Cook, Charlie Ekstrum, president of Philip Health Services was quoted, “Not since the community has recruited Dr. Mangulis, has it recruited a doctor better suited in training and background than is Dr Klopper.”
Former PHSI administrator David Dick sent this note of caring.
It is with great sadness that Cheryl and I learn of the passing of Coen Klopper, MD.   At the same moment, I am so thankful to have experienced the love he had for both the science and art of rural medicine.   I, like you, will remember him my whole life.   Like this memory, early one morning following a serious trauma incident due to an accident on the interstate, Dr. Klopper came into my office.  I felt concerned that he was coming to tell me how difficult the situation was, instead he said this, “I felt like a doctor again last night, I got to utilize all my knowledge and skills to help those accident victims last night.”  What amazed me most was his love for the practice of medicine and being able to help, even though he was practicing in a rural hospital without a lot of back up specialists.  
One evening, my youngest daughter fell and cut her leg deeply.  I took her to the ER where Dr. Klopper, being on call that day, came into the ER (this was in the old ER).  She was of course bleeding and scared.  Dr. Klopper sat with her upon the ER table, right next to her. He teased her about having too many boyfriends and calmly told her what he was going to do for her leg.  He then addressed the wound, stitching it up after cleaning the wound.  My heart will remain grateful to have witnessed, as you have, his kindness and competency to all his patients.  So many moments that we all share and will grieve the loss of, together.
President of PHSI Board of directors sent his thoughts about his friendship with Dr. Klopper.
It was his bedside manner that was so magnetic to everyone he saw. Then for us to find out he was so brilliant when it came to practicing medicine. That was just over the top. The fact that a gem like Coen could find his way to the little town in the middle of no where, from South Africa, by way of Canada was just amazing. I can’t tell you how much my heart aches at his absence. Our community owes so much to “The Klopper.” I am not sure we will ever know how much. May he rest in peace.
See complete obituary on page 5.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
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