Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 5, 2014

James Richard “Dick” Copeland


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — James Richard “Dick” Copeland, 89, of 102 Oakwood Lane in Princeton died Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Princeton Community Hospital. Dick was born September 7, 1924 to the late Herman D. and Ruth McNeer Copeland in the upstairs of his father's Rock Camp General store in Rock Camp, WV.

After growing up in Monroe County he graduated from Peterstown High School in 1942. Not old enough to enter the military he enrolled in Bluefield Business College before moving to New Britain, CT where he worked in a machine shop for a few months. He returned to the family farm before joining the U.S. Navy in 1944. After training Dick went overseas to the Pacific Theater where he served on the U.S.S. Vestal during the Okinawa campaign and then in Hong Kong for several months. After his active duty he continued to serve in the Navy Reserve for ten years. After World War ll Dick returned to work in the First National Bank of Peterstown from 1949 until 1952 when he moved to Princeton to work in the insurance business with the late Grady Carper. They operated Mercer General Insurance Agency from 1952 until 1985 when Dick sold the company. Dick and Grady also built one of the first motels in Princeton, Oakwood Motor Court. Working with investors Dick built Sherwood Apartments in 1968 and has operated them ever since. He was instrumental in starting the Oakvale Road Public Service District and ran it out of his office for 17 years.

Dick has been a member of many organizations in Princeton throughout the years. He was especially proud of serving in the Princeton Rotary Club and Princeton Elks Lodge #1521 for over 60 years. He also served on the Board of Mercer County Bank and One Valley Bank for 28 years and The Landlords Association since 1968. He was awarded the “Citizen of The Year” award by the Princeton Mercer County Chamber of Commerce in 2002. He worked tirelessly on the Princeton Town Square project which now bears his name. Always proud of his military service Dick spent countless hours in the classrooms of Mercer County Schools sharing his experiences with students. Dick has truly lived what Rotary describes as a “Life of Service”.

In addition to his parents, one nephew, Jim Williams, preceded him in death.

Survivors include three sisters, Vivian Ruth Williams of Bethal Park, PA, June Gross of Pearisburg, VA and Wanda Britts of Easley, SC; three nephews, four nieces and fifteen great-nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be conducted 1:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at the George W. Seaver Chapel of Seaver Funeral Home in Princeton with the Rev. Ed Pettus and the Rev. Jerry Martin officiating and the Mercer County Veterans Honor Guard conducting Military services. In keeping with his wishes Dick will be cremated following the service. Friends may call at Seaver Funeral Home in Princeton from 12:00 Noon to the service hour on Thursday.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to a favorite charity.