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John (Jack) C. Papen

October 24, 1931 ~ August 12, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old


John (Jack) C. Papen passed away on August 12, 2023, in his home surrounded by his loving family. He was born on October 24, 1931, the oldest son of John and Ida Mildred Papen. He was born in Somerville New Jersey but lived most of his life in Delaware. He and Betty moved to Delaware in 1958 when the Papens moved their farming operation here. He was a respected member of the farming community all along the East coast. He was a member of the Delaware Farm Bureau, the Vegetable Growers Association, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Camden Wyoming Rotary. He was a self-taught electrician, plumber, and mechanic. He wired, and plumbed, many of the early structures on Papen Farms. His mechanical ability and quick thinking saved the day and kept things up and running on many occasions. He shared his knowledge with many who work(ed) on the farm including his son, grandsons, cousins, and nephews. He was a devoted steward of the land that he loved and worked for 70 years. His legacy will live on in the generations that follow. The thing that brought him the most joy was his family.  Visits from his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren always brought a sparkle to his eyes and a smile to his face. Nothing made him happier than a pool full of loud, laughing kids. We couldn't have asked for a better father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great great-grandfather.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ida Mildred Papen; his wife and the love of his life, Betty Ann Papen; his wife, Nancy Lee O’Neal Papen; his sister, Elaine Papen Kaczka; his brother, Frank Papen; his great- granddaughter, Kayleanna Riddle; his great great-grandson, Damien Riddle.

Jack is survived by his children, Jeffrey Papen (Debbie), Karla Crossan (Eric), Jacqueline Ramos, Leslie Turney (David); his grandchildren Jared Papen, Joel Papen (Holly), Kate Crossan (Jean Damien), Julie Humphreys (Mark), Yadira Ramos, Christopher Ramos (Lauren Martin), Justine Martinez (Julius Mickles), Elaina Martinez (Nancie); his great-grandchildren, Valentin Rangel, Nadia Cisneros, Kiara Lopez, Jaxon Papen, Maddox Papen, Wyatt Humphreys, Jaciella Desselle, Phyllis Riddle, Kalib Riddle, Brandon Martinez; great great-grandsons, Drake Lee Davis, and Ivan Casillas, due in November; his sister Karen Walters(Dean Webb); his sister-in-law Marianne O'Neal; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is also survived by his black cat Mickey. He had two very special, devoted, and loving caretakers, Lillian Korell and Michelle English. With their help, we were able to care for him in the comfort of his home of 65 years. 

After marrying Nancy, he gained what she called a “bonus family”. Children, Richard Payne (Lindsay), Jeff Payne (Debi), Ron Payne, Tracy Boyer (Chris), 15 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren; great great-granddaughter, “baby girl Volk” due in December.

A funeral service will be held Monday, August 21, 2023 at 12 noon in Wyoming United Methodist Church, 216 Wyoming Mill Rd. Dover, DE, where friends may view from 10 am until service time.  Interment will follow in Sharon Hills Memorial Park, 2928 Sharon Hill Road, Dover, DE.

In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations in Jack’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, PO Box 1893, Memphis, TN 38101-9950, or First State Animal Center, SPCA, 32 Shelter Circle, Camden, DE 19934 or 

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August 21, 2023

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Wyoming United Methodist Church
216 Wyoming Mill Road
Wyoming, DE 19934

Funeral Service
August 21, 2023

12:00 PM
Wyoming United Methodist Church
216 Wyoming Mill Road
Wyoming, DE 19934


Sharon Hills Memorial Park
Sharon Hills Road
Dover, DE 19904


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