Hopkins remembered: Faculty ‘blessed’ with teaching ability

By Keith Hernandez

Debra Hopkins, 62, of DeKalb, died Monday morning at St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, according to the Winnebago County Coroner.

Hopkins worked for 27 years in NIU’s accounting department as director of the Certified Public Accounting Review. There, she made long-lasting impressions on her students, said CPA Review secretary Mary Hamell.

“I really feel that you could fill a stadium with all the people she has touched,” Hamell said. “She was blessed with being able to teach, and the way she took care of them [Hopkins’ students] afterwards if they didn’t pass a part, how she’d nurture them.”

Hamell was secretary under Hopkins from 1997 until Hopkins’ retirement in 2012. After her retirement, Hopkins taught advanced auditing and international financial accounting at University of Illinois at Chicago, North Central College and Northwestern College of Continuing Studies.

“Every name of every person she could remember,” Hamell said. “She was just a remarkable lady.”

Hopkins was awarded the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Illinois CPA Society and coauthored a book, “You Can Pass the CPA Exam.”

Hopkins also received the NIU Presidential SPS Award for Excellence in 2007 and Presidential Commission Amazing Woman Award in 2006.

An obituary from Anderson Funeral Home said Hopkins “called herself an average golfer, a mediocre skier, an avid Packer fan and a world-champion snowmobile racer.”

She is survived by her husband, Roger Hopkins; son, Tony Hopkins, of Pewaukee, Wis., and daughter, Megan Hopkins, of Chicago.

Visitation will be 3-8 p.m. Friday at Anderson Funeral Home, 2011 S. Fourth St., and a memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at First Lutheran Church, 324 N. Third St.