Sky Scene 06

Frank Wood Copeland

August 19, 1926 ~ February 1, 2021 (age 94)


Frank Wood Copeland, 94, died on February 1, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah, five days following the passing of his wife of 72 years, Betty Francisco Copeland.  Frank, known to his family as Wood, was born August 19, 1926 on Copeland Ridge, Indiana to Bernard Copeland and Fern Jessup Copeland.  He grew up during the Great Depression in a farming community with no electricity and running water.  He attended a multi-grade, one room elementary school and graduated from North Madison High School in 1944.  

Wood’s life was transformed by WWII when he enlisted at age 17.  He traveled and trained in states far from home; faced an emergency appendectomy by himself in a military hospital that delayed deployment to Europe; celebrated VE day in New York City; re-enlisted in 1945 and experienced troop ships to and from Europe.  He served signal corp details at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.  He learned to look at the world from broad perspectives while seeing the best and worst of people in a rapidly changing world.  

Following WWII, he finished his degree at Hanover College and graduated in 1948.  After marrying Betty, they moved to Detroit, Michigan where they lived for 35 years and raised their four children.  Frank was a safety engineering manager for an insurance company during an era of a rapidly growing economy.  He was a lifetime reader and researcher of a myriad of industries, issues, world religions, and national policies while mentoring numerous young professionals.  Again, his career forced him to see the best and worst of industries, companies, and people while constantly challenging companies to improve their safety environment.       

Beyond his career, Wood was selflessly devoted to his children, his wife, his parents, his siblings, and his community. Wood had a continuing devotion to education throughout his life.  He served on the school board for 16 years where he improved educational standards in a district with limited resources.  He was particularly proud of his children getting their bachelor’s degrees and two advanced degrees and their commitment to their children’s education.  Beyond education, even his passion for gardening contributed to his sense of community.  Preparing, sharing, and conversing about gardening and farming engaged Wood and Betty in their communities far beyond their personal needs throughout their life. They retired to Wirt, Indiana in 1984 to be near and care for their parents.  They subsequently lived in Texas for 3 years before returning to Indiana in 2009.  They later moved to Salt Lake City to be near their daughter.    Betty and Wood enjoyed camping across Michigan and Canada with their children and continued to travel to see their children and grandchildren across the country.  In their retirement years, they were fortunate to enjoy travel abroad.    

Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, his parents, his brothers-in-law Jack Beckett and Dan Caldwell (Wanda), his in-laws Joseph and Virginia Francisco; his in-laws Mary Louise Francisco Morgan Kreamelmeyer, Douglas Morgan and Bob Kreamelmeyer;  his brother-in-law Theo Wennen (Martha);  He is survived by his sisters Wanda Caldwell and Kay Richmond (Bert); sister-in-law Martha Wennen; children Jane Blair (Kim) of Salt Lake City UT, son Mark Copeland (Becky) of Lilburn GA, son Robert Copeland (Gwen) of Harrisburg, PA and son Carter Copeland (Leslie) of Houston TX; nine grandchildren Douglas, Karen, and Lane (Mark), Alex and Sam (Rob), Emily and John (Jane), Megan and Daniel (Carter); and seven great-grandchildren.  

Memorial donations may be made to the Nature Conservancy, 4245 N Fairfax Drive, Ste 100, Arlington, VA, 22203-1606, in memory of Frank W Copeland.

A Memorial Mass and Interment Service will be announced and held later in Madison, Indiana.  


Family to do services at later date

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