Thomas Burton Copeland Jr., 79, of Bartlesville, died Wednesday, October 12, 2016 in Bartlesville. Thomas or "Tom" was born to Thomas Burton Sr. and Juanita Dovie (Woodard) Copeland on Oct. 15, 1936, in Hominy, Ok. He was raised in Hominy, graduating from Hominy High School in 1955. His high school sweetheart Sybil Jean Hayes graduated a year earlier and after a short engagement they were united in marriage on March 27, 1955 and they enjoyed 61 years together. Tom commuted to Okla. State Univ. (OSU) for his undergraduate degree; he lived on campus during the week at the campus fire station where he worked and returned home on weekends. During this time he also served as Hominy Asst. Fire Chief. Tom moved the family to take his first teaching job at the state's first vo tech school, Southern Oklahoma Technology Center in Ardmore for two years before taking a position at the newest vo tech at the time, Tri County Technology Center, Bartlesville, in 1966 to teach Auto Body Repair. Tom received an opportunity to work for DuPont and the family moved to Flint, Michigan, for a few years before returning home to their beloved NE Oklahoma roots. In 1980 Tom started his Master's and continued on to receive 30 credit hours towards a PhD. He retired from Tri County in 1998 with over 25 years of faithful service. Tom's heart was filled with brotherly love and he helped many a broken down traveler change a flat. He was a member of the Dewey Masonic Lodge, Sunday School teacher and deacon in his church, and longtime member of the Gideon's. He used his talents to repaint the little dipper ride and sign for the Bartlesville Kiddie Park in the 1990s. Tom loved magic and performed tricks with lessons for Sunday School children; in recent years he reinvented himself as Uncle Clyde and put on shows for local care centers. He played Santa Claus many times for Hominy's Christmas parade. Tom's true passions in life were times shared with his family, trips to Branson and Colorado in the summer, hunting, fishing and telling jokes and stories that captivated anyone within earshot. To the grandkids he was known as Big Papa. But most of all Tom loved the Lord and studied His Word. Tom is survived by his loving wife Sybil of the home; two children, Monte Copeland of Owasso, and Sherrie Alexander and Tony of Bartlesville; one brother Bob Copeland and Dee of Canon City, CO; three grandchildren Angelia Stull and A.E., Matthew Copeland and Michele of Owasso, and Elizabeth Hert and Channing of Owasso; and six great grandchildren, Skyler, Conner, Trindey, and Ace Stull, Marshall and Maddock Copeland. He is preceded in death by his parents, one son Thomas "Tommy" Lewis Copeland in 1996, brother Ronnie Copeland and sister Gwyndolyn Copeland. Visitation will be held Monday from 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Tom's family will receive friends at the Davis Family Funeral Home, 918-534-3030, 113 S. Osage (Hwy. 75), Dewey, on Monday, October 17, from 6-8 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The Gideon's International, PO BOX 3143, Bartlesville, OK 74006. Memorial services with Masonic Rites will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Bartlesville First Baptist Church (Old Chapel - East), with Rev. Tom Cox officiating. Services are under the direction of Carter Davis and the Davis Family Funeral Home. Online condolences and remembrances may be shared with Tom's family at www.DavisFamilyFuneralHome.com.
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