James Frank Copeland
James Frank Copeland
  • July 3, 1918 - January 17, 2017
  • Columbia, South Carolina

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COLUMBIA - James F. Copeland, Jr. departed this life on January 17, 2017 after an extended illness. He was born July 3, 1918. He was a son of the late James Frank Copeland and Anna Joye Copeland of Timmonsville.

Mr. Copeland spent his youth in the Timmonsville area. He was a graduate of Timmonsville High School, Class of 1935 and Clemson University in 1939. He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant U.S. Infantry Reserve as a result of ROTC training. He was the Principal of Lamar High School where he taught math prior to entering military service early in 1941. He served with Armored Outfits initially. His interest in flying led to his selection for pilot training as a student officer and a transfer to the U.S. Air Force. He served as a pilot instructor and advanced to administrative and staff positions. He was released from active duty in late 1945 and retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve as Lieutenant Colonel.

Following military service he pursued a career with the Veterans’ Administration Regional Office in Columbia. He served in the area of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for seriously disabled veterans, development and adjudication of disability claims. Upon retirement in June of 1981, he was Assistant Adjudication Officer, a position he held for 10 years. His career in government spanned more than 40 years. He received many awards for performance and devoted service and was known throughout the state for his work with veterans.

Mr. Copeland was a devoted member of Shandon United Methodist Church since 1946, where he served on numerous committees. He was President and teacher of his Sunday School class. He was past Chairman of the Administration Board and also sang in the choir.

He joined the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Columbia and served in many capacities. He held the positions of Treasurer, Vice President, President, and Lieutenant Governor of the Carolinas District. He was honored with membership to the George F. Hixon Fellowship by his club in January of 1997. This award is given to a person who has made a substantial contribution to Kiwanis International Worldwide Service Project.

Mr. Copeland was married to the late Jeanette Pate of Lamar, S.C. on June 6, 1942. He is survived by his daughter, Barbara C. Suddeth; and two grandchildren, James H. Suddeth III and his wife, Jessica and Meghan Suddeth Hesley and her husband, Josh. Also left to cherish his memory are his brother-in-law, Bill Pate and his wife, Carolyn of Clover, S.C.; his sister-in-law, Berta Copeland of Wailuku, Hawaii. His brother, Neil, predeceased him.

His grandchildren include: Jeddie, Cokey, Adelaide, Ripley, and Steen Suddeth of Charleston and Emory and Hannon Hesley of Columbia. He always felt so blessed to know them all and was excited by their visits!

His nieces and nephews include: Neil and Kathy Copeland of Honolulu, Hawaii, Conrad Copeland of Wailuku, Hawaii, Karen and Rob Bryant of Raleigh, N.C. and son Will, and Billy and Selena Pate of Belmont, N.C. and their children, Kelsey and Hannah.

Mr. Copeland was a resident of Wildewood Downs at the time of his death. He was very happy there and loved the people and the staff with all his heart. The family wishes to thank everyone at Wildewood Downs for their wonderful care as well as Agape Hospice, especially Kristen Wallace and Bessie.

Services for Mr. Copeland will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at Shandon United Methodist Church. Visitation will follow the service in Wesley Hall at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Shandon United Methodist Church, 3407 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29205.

A private family burial will be held in Fort Jackson National Cemetery. Mr. Copeland will be placed next to his beloved wife, Jeannette.

Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.