Isaac Pope - WWII hero and local legend dead at 100
Photo by Brandon Potter / Potter Photography & Design
A World War II veteran and a strong pillar in the Kinston community died Thursday.
Isaac Pope, 100, died early Thursday morning. Pope, a Kinston native, was a member of the 969th Artillery Battalion, the first black battalion to fight in World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
A film is in the process of being created on his life entitled “Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century” and an unfinished version was shown on Dec. 17, 2017 — Pope’s 100th birthday — at St. Augustus AME Zion Church; Pope was a regular volunteer at the church.
Film producer Paula Caplan, daughter of 969th captain Jerome Caplan, said the documentary was well-received and should be out before the year is over.
“People loved it and I think it meant a lot to him,” Caplan said. “(Pope) was amazed over the years because he didn’t know why we were working on a film on him, but he was such a magnificent human being and one of the unsung heroes as well.”
G.I. Joe Museum founder Eric Cantu said he truly appreciated Pope’s work in the military, which included becoming a first sergeant in the army.
“I thought he was a great person,” Cantu said. “We honored him at the G.I. Joe Museum in February and from what I learned about him, he did so much for this community and the people he loved.
"He was a tremendous asset.”
Dr. Julian Pridgen, the pastor at St. Augustus AME Zion Church, said he met Pope in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd had affected the city. The church had been turned into a help center for those needing supplies, with Pope being one of the members assisting those in need.
“You don’t have to be around him long to see what kind of character Mr. Pope has,” Pridgen said.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.