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Charles Thomas Copeland entered the nearer presence of the Lord on May 12th, 2022. He was born October 23rd, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois to Charles Thomas “Tom” Copeland and Mae Walton Finn. He graduated from Lane Tech High School where he was a leader in many student organizations. He married Judith Hayward Copeland, the love of his life and life partner, on June 27th, 1959. After working in Advertising, he enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA where he not only received his undergraduate degree in record time but also went on to receive his MA in Psychology. He loved research and learning even more than degrees, having accomplished all but dissertation three times. He was published numerous times in his field.

Grounded in solid research, he was dedicated to helping others grow in their life and careers. He did this not only in his work in the corporate world but also through the many he has coached and guided individually. After leaving corporate personnel work he began work for the Lutheran Church in America as deployed staff helping congregations in the Illinois and Iowa Synods in the area of Stewardship. He moved to Tampa Florida and entered Private Practice in career and personal development. He left private practice to take a position as Assistant to the Bishop of the Florida Bahamas Synod of the Lutheran Church in America where he not only served as administrator, but assisted congregations during times of transition and conflict. He completed his career by serving those who were incarcerated to find new life and purpose through his work with PRIDE (Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Industries) of Florida. Through his work he was able to greatly reduce the recidivism of inmates returning to prison after release by discovering new skills, purpose, and identity after they were released. He was responsible for the training throughout the prison industries of Florida.

He was a loving life partner with Judy. Together, they raised their family, supported each other in all decisions and grew together through all the joys, challenges, and changes they faced. He was involved in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and loved the relationships he built through his amateur radio community spread throughout the world. He was a model, inspiration and foundation for his boys who deeply relied on his wisdom and support in building their own families. He was active in the life of Grace Lutheran Church in Tampa and loved singing in “The Grace Notes”, the singing group that he and Judy helped form. He was an incredible friend known for his infectious laugh, engaging stories, and unwavering support.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Judith Hayward Copeland; two sons, Scott Charles Copeland (Serena) of Hawaii and Keith Thomas Copeland (Cheris) of NC along with grandchildren: Alexander (Anna), Nicholas, Joshua (Emily) and Antoine (Kelley) and three great grandchildren. His memory is also cherished by all whose lives he touched through his life and work.

A service of celebration and remembrance will be held at Grace Lutheran Church, 3714 Limbaugh Ave, Tampa, FL 33618 at 11am on Tuesday, May 24th. The service will be live streamed at gracetampa.org and scroll down to the live stream section.  It will only stream after 11am.

Memorials in honor of his life can be given to:

US Coast Guard Auxiliary: https://www.cgauxa.org/donate.html,

Grace Lutheran Stephen’s Ministry: email maggiek@gracelutherantampa.org

Subject,“Donation to Honor Chuck Copeland for Stephen’s ministry” to assure proper record keeping. 

Concordia Valley Community Living: https://concordialm.org/donate/

2 Comments

  • Gordon Engebretson
    Posted May 22, 2022 at 10:14 am

    A very dear friend and colleague on life’s journey. I miss his infectious laugh and twinkling eyes!

  • Janeen Salzgeber
    Posted May 23, 2022 at 7:50 am

    Our sincere condolences – He was a very sweet man and was so proud of his family and truly loved his girl, Judy!
    Prayers for all of you –
    Janeen, Pathfinders Downsizing Solutions

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