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Erwin Topper
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Erwin Topper, 72, of Dawsonville died Sept. 13, 2014.

He was born in Strasburg, Germany on Nov. 4, 1941, to Apolonia and Theodore Topper who preceded him in death.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Ann Broome Topper; sisters, Irma Pylyshenko and husband Mirko and Inge White all of Rochester, N.Y.; various other relatives also survive.

Erwin received his high school education in Yale, Mich. and graduated from Michigan State University where he earned a bachelor's.

He then joined the United States Marine Corps where he was commissioned, promoted to captain and served seven years with tours in Vietnam, where he was decorated and received two Purple Hearts. Due to his wounds, he retired from the Marine Corps. The then entered Georgia State University earning an MBA.

His second career was with the Army Corps of Engineers where he served for 28 years. He was best recognized as the operations manager for Lake Lanier for 23 years.

Topper, as he was known, brought many innovations to Lake Lanier. For that he was recognized twice by the chief of engineers resulting in Lake Lanier being recognized as the best lake in the nation. He was also recognized as Employee of the Year in the Corps of Engineers.

Upon his retirement he was selected for the Hall of Fame in the Mobile District of the Corps of Engineers. The National Recreation Society selected him as a Legend in the field of recreation. Priorities in his management were public service, public safety, environmental stewardship and water management.

Away from work, he participated as a member of the Veterans Association, Disabled Veterans Association and Military Officers Association. He was also a member of the American and Georgia Quarter Horse Associations and showed his horses on a local and national scale, winning many prestigious awards.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 18 at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cumming. Interment will follow at 2:23 pm at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorial donations be made to the Equine Rescue League of Georgia (

McDonald & Son Funeral Home in Cumming is in charge of the arrangements.