Wednesday, September 28, 2016
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
6:30 PM - Prayer Service
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Never one for diamonds and pearls, Gloria Copeland placed her riches in the finer things in life, like matters of the heart. Whether family or friend, she was someone with whom others could rely. Gloria selflessly volunteered her time and efforts, and generous in all ways, she lived with compassion and understanding. A hard working woman for the greater good, Gloria did so lovingly with ways all her own. Although deeply missed, Gloria leaves behind precious memories never to be forgotten.
By 1932, the economy continued to deteriorate as a result of the Great Depression. Unemployment increased to over 24 percent with an astounding 13 million out of work. Many struggled to keep their families fed and a roof over their heads, yet the entertainment industry provided welcome relief from everyday worries. For Lawrence and Jenny (Triestram) Redmond, the year offered hope and promise as they celebrated the birth of their little girl, Gloria Ann, born on August 23, 1932, in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
A child typical of her generation, Gloria grew up the middle child alongside her two brothers, David and Robert. A friend of many during her youth, Gloria attended the area schools where her musical talents were revealed. She began playing the clarinet in her school band and she continued to excel and do so before graduating from State High School in 1950. It was during this time when Gloria came to know Milburn Copeland. Although quite smitten, it wasn’t until later when they would begin dating.
Following high school, Gloria worked in the office of the fire inspector for the state for several years. When she received a call from Mel upon his return home from the Korean War, the two began dating and soon fell in love. After dating for a year, the happy couple shared vows of marriage at St. Augustine Catholic Church on September 24, 1955. Only the beginning of many more treasured times to come, they would come to walk hand-in-hand throughout the course of their 61-year marriage.
After spending a memorable honeymoon at Niagara Falls, Gloria and Mel set-up house in Kalamazoo on S. Rose Street. There they began a family of their own, and in 1964 they moved to their current home where they lovingly raised and nurtured their family which came to include three sons, Brian, Gary, and Joseph, and daughter, Susan. Gloria remained at home with her children as an attentive and nurturing mother. All the while, she also worked from home renting out rooms and garages on S. Rose Street. She also did some typing for an insurance company.
Gloria kept herself very busy raising her family and working. She ran a well-organized household, and she was a wonderful cook, too. She loved gardening, taking great care of her flower and vegetable gardens. Quite the perfectionist, Gloria cultivated the finest soil by composting, blessing her with fruitful gardens. Sensitive to her environment before it was even popular to be an environmentalist, Gloria even considered the birds and nature around her.
Family get-togethers at their family home were always an enjoyable time and important to Gloria. She loved coordinating these get-togethers and found ways to celebrate every family event, large or small. Her delicious turkeys were a mainstay at holiday gatherings, and her giving heart often found someone alone for the holidays to invite to join their family festivities.
Faith was an integral part of Gloria’s life. Although always active at church, in 1965 they became members of St. Joseph Catholic Church where Gloria worked and volunteered in many capacities. Her children attended St. Joseph Catholic School where she was very involved, and later she worked many funeral luncheons. Gloria’s service oriented and gracious heart also included other areas. In addition to her church, Gloria’s humanitarian efforts were included in countless hours at the Griffin Help Line, Catholic Social Services, and the Legion of Mary. She volunteered at the Miller Auditorium, and she loved all the shows. For numerous years she served with USTA Tennis, the Senior Olympics, and for over 70 softball, tennis, and golf tournaments. From hunger walks to cancer walks, Gloria was an ultimate supporter of causes she believed in and it would be easy to say she truly embodied a servant’s heart.
Talented in many ways, Gloria was musically inclined since her earliest years. She loved playing the piano, especially her favorite, old songs on the very piano her parents had given her years earlier. In school, she began playing the clarinet and became a 50-year charter member of the Kalamazoo Concert Band. In fact, Gloria opened the door for her own granddaughter, sharing her love for music with her. She bought her a piano and Gloria was sure to attend all of her recitals and concerts. It was important for Gloria to be a constant presence at each of her grandchildren’s school and sporting activities. Her support and encouragement towards them was unending.
Always on the go, Gloria kept active and fit. In their free time, she and Mel enjoyed playing golf throughout Michigan and while in Florida. Fun times were enjoyed by all when they took their grandkids on Disney trips which made for lasting memories. In later years, Gloria and her good friend, Ruth Ann Myers attended all of the Western Michigan University sporting events together. An avid reader, Gloria enjoyed reading religious leaders and mysteries. When it came to music, she liked a variety of music including concert band music.
Gloria was never one for shopping or collecting. A woman of simple means, Gloria chose to store her treasures in heaven rather than in earthly gains. She placed her efforts into helping others and being there for her family who brought her the greatest joy. Her profound commitment to her family and the cause at hand never ceased to amaze those around her. A hard worker, Gloria remained energetic despite having carpel tunnel in both her hands. She overcame bile duct cancer for seven years, yet in time dementia and several strokes slowed her down. A life well lived, Gloria will be lovingly remembered for all that she was, all that she gave, and more.
Gloria Ann Copeland, age 84 of Portage, died September 25, 2016, in Kalamazoo. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother, David Redmond, and grandson, Todd Copeland. Surviving is her husband of 61 years, Milburn Copeland; four children: Brian (Carol) Copeland, Gary Copeland, Joseph Copeland and Susan Copeland; four grandchildren: Elizabeth (Matthew) Weis, Sara Copeland, Hannah Markle and Hailey Markus; great-grandson, Keegan Copeland; brother, Robert (Marilyn) Redmond; many nieces and nephews. Visit with Gloria’s family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Wednesday from 4-7PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where a prayer service will be held at 6:30PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, 11:00AM at St. Joseph Church with a luncheon to follow in the church hall. Burial will take place Friday, 10:00AM Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Gloria’s personal memory page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Loaves and Fishes or Kalamazoo Concert Band.