Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, James Delos Copeland

June 2 would have been my Dad's 81st birthday. It's still hard to believe that he's not around, even though he died in 1972. His family still miss and love him.

James Delos Copeland was the last son of William Quincy Copeland and his wife Agnes Elizabeth McKay. He was the only one of the sons born in Medford Oregon. His brothers were born in the Copeland farm house in Montgomery County Kansas.

James' life was a sad and hard one. His mother died in 1933 when James was 3 years old. His brother Pearl Dewey was 1 year older than James. Pearl died of a stomach ailment in 1939. His father never remarried and became a recluse, raising his boys alone at a ranch in the Upper Applegate area of Oregon. James left school and home as a teen, during WWII when his brother Donald joined the service.

In 1948, James entered the service and went to Japan where he met young Shuko Mine, a Japanese young lady. They fell in love, and by 1952, they married. Before that James went in and out of the service, and was sent to Korea, where he fought in the Inchong battles and later contracted hemorraghic fever. This illness nearly killed him at age 22. It weakened his immune system so that he began having heart attacks at 35 and eventually died from this at age 43.

James was in and out of the service for 13 years. James and Shuko lived in Ft. Benning GA, a base in W. VA, and Fort Ord, as well as Medford OR and Monterey CA. They moved to the Santa Clara valley in 1961. During that time, James and Shuko had 2 daughters - Cousette and Francis Ann Copeland. By 1963, they moved to Santa Clara after their son Stuart Justin Copeland was born.

James worked as a draftsman at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), working on numerous top secret projects including the Apollo 11 mission and other NASA related projects. He left SRI in 1970 and began his own drafting business. He was 43 when he died of his last heart attack.

James never gave up on life. He loved his family and did everything for them, trying to provide the family life that he did not enjoy. He also pursued his own interests as an outdoorsman - he loved fishing, camping, and diving. He was artistic and he was handy, working on his own boat and the family cars. He had a low deep voice, a kind nature, and the brightest turquoise eyes and blue black hair that I've ever seen. No man was as handsome as Daddy!

James was a kind, gentle person - a true gentleman. He was much admired and much loved by those who knew him.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

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