OBITUARY

The Honorable David Young Copeland III

10 January , 19315 June , 2019
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The Honorable David Young Copeland, III, 88, of Chattanooga, TN, passed away on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. He leaves a legacy of faithful service to both country and community as well as a broad circle of family and friends who loved him deeply. Born in Tampa, FL, on January 10, 1931, David graduated from Chattanooga Central High School and attended classes at McKenzie Business College. David and his wife Mary wed in December 1950. He served in the 710th and 71st AAA Gun Battalions of the US Army, and their two children Mike and Valerie were born at Ft. Belvoir, VA, before the family returned to Chattanooga in 1953. Ever the consummate businessman, David worked for and later owned Ace Shade and Awning Company before founding Copelands Inc. in 1964. He also established a newspaper, The News Leader, as well as Alpha Logic Systems, a computer mapping and special applications company. In addition, he was president of Woodfinch Farms and Executive Coaches. Later, he chaired the James County Historical Society, using this opportunity to help preserve and share history about the only county in Tennessee which ever went bankrupt An accomplished musician, David directed the choir at several churches and was particularly known for his beautiful singing voice, adept whistling, and talent on the clarinet. He was a founding member of the Chattanooga Water Ski Club, and enjoyed fishing, boating, and waterskiing. Always one to try new things, he learned how to auctioneer, became a square dance caller, and even acted in plays while on the board of the PTA at Westview Elementary where Mike and Valerie were students. One of his greatest joys was spending time with friends and family, and he chronicled the Copeland family tree through his extensive work on genealogy. Throughout his life, his robust sense of humor remained one of his most unique traits. David’s political involvement began when he co-managed the campaign of Lamar Baker for US Congress in 1966. In 1968, he was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature where he served for the next 24 years. While in the legislature, he was a fiscal expert and a member of the Finance Ways and Means, Fiscal Review, and a host of other committees. He was recognized in 1978 as Legislator of the Year by ALEC, was named to the Legislature’s Top Ten six times, was twice honored as Outstanding Legislator, and was selected as one of the top ten Most Effective Legislators each year the rating was conducted. During that time he also held the positions of County Coordinator and was a member of the Hamilton County Republican Party Steering Committee. David was recognized as the father of the Tennessee Constitutional Amendment nicknamed the Copeland Cap. This measure, Proposal 9, proposed a Tennessee Constitutional Spending Limit in 1977 to balance the budget, constrain growth in spending, and require front-end budgeting of new programs. It was approved by a 2/3 popular vote. He was also chairman and organizer of the First National Tax Limitation Conference 1978 - "Tax Limitation: Reason or Revolution." In 1993, Copeland was a candidate for Tennessee Governor. From 1997-2005, David was a member and later chair of the Baroness Erlanger Hospital Board of Trustees. Copeland was preceded in death by his parents, Reverend David Young (DY) Copeland, Jr., and Lora Ellen Kramp Copeland, his brother and sister-in-law Glenn Ray and Pat Copeland, and his grandson Trey Rutledge. He is survived by his wife of almost 69 years Mary Leamon Copeland, his son David Michael (Mike) Copeland and wife Phyllis, daughter Valerie Copeland Rutledge and husband Jack, grandson Will Copeland and wife Sarah, and granddaughter Ashley Rutledge and husband Jake McKim, brother, Tom Copeland and wife Carol, as well as Legrand and Terrie Williams, special friends, several nieces and nephews, and a host of relatives. Memorial donations may be made to Morris Hill Baptist Church, 1804 Morris Hill Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421, or the David and Mary Copeland Endowed Scholarship in Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Department 6806, 605 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403. Pallbearers will be Will Copeland, Jonathan Copeland, Clay Copeland, Todd Leamon, Jake McKim, and Bill Bratton. Honorary pallbearers include all employees of Copelands Inc.

Funeral services will be 12:30 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in the funeral home chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel. Interment will follow the service at Chattanooga National Cemetery with Military Honors. Family will receive friends from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm Sunday and from 4:30 pm until 7:00 pm Monday at the funeral home.

Please share your memories with the family at www.chattanoogaeastbrainerdchapel.com

Arrangements are by the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 8214 E. Brainerd Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37421.

Services

  • Visitation Sunday, 9 June , 2019
  • Visitation Monday, 10 June , 2019
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, 11 June , 2019
  • Interment Tuesday, 11 June , 2019

Memories

The Honorable David Young Copeland III

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Theresa Liedtka

10 June 2019

Valerie, I am so sorry for your loss, keeping you and yours in my thoughts. Your father sounds like a remarkable man.

Joan Whittenburg

10 June 2019

Valerie, your father was a man of service to his community and the state of Tennessee. You are an important part of his legacy.. I send my sympathy and my love. contact me. Love, Joan

c Collake

10 June 2019

Our deepest sympathy,
The Collake Family

Gary Cordell

8 June 2019

David was always an inspiration to me as he led his life through example. He befriended both the famous and average person in his relationships and impacted many lives. I knew him as a wonderful Father and Husband to his family and as an individual that cared about those around him.
He will be greatly missed.

Janet Humberd Hood

8 June 2019

I have fond memories of David while campaigning with the Republican Party back in the ‘60s. I also recall Valerie being in my cabin at Camp Joy. My dad once made a folding camping trailer and David’s company made the custom canvas top for it. May David Rest In Peace while memories made remain in the hearts of his wonderful family and his friends and his work associates. I feel blessed to have known him. Sending love and prayers to his family.

Rick Tucker

7 June 2019

I knew David through politics. I always admired his common sense stance on issues and thought he would have been a great Governor when he ran. I admired him for standing up for the principles he believed in. I loved his family and wish I had spent more time around him. I loved David Copeland and will surely miss him and his smile.

Missy Keith

7 June 2019

Dear Valerie,

You know me from UTC and Core Knowledge at St. Peter's. I would like to send my condolences. It's hard to lose a beloved parent, but aren't we fortunate to have had Godly, honorable men to raise us! I'm praying for peace for you and your family.

Sincerely,
Missy Keith

Debra Young

6 June 2019

Mary I was heartbroken to hear that. You have always been so good and kind to me. You were always there for Mama and Daddy and one of Mama's dearest friends!! Your smile lime a ray of sunshine lighting up any room you walked into! I didn't know David very well but my heart aches for you and your family. I will be praying for all of you!! Hugs!!

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Biography

The Honorable David Young Copeland, III, 88, of Chattanooga, TN, passed away on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. He leaves a legacy of faithful service to both country and community as well as a broad circle of family and friends who loved him deeply.
Born in Tampa, FL, on January 10, 1931, David graduated from Chattanooga Central High School and attended classes at McKenzie Business College. David and his wife Mary wed in December 1950. He served in the 710th and 71st AAA Gun Battalions of the US Army, and their two children Mike and Valerie were born at Ft. Belvoir, VA, before the family returned to Chattanooga in 1953.
Ever the consummate businessman, David worked for and later owned Ace Shade and Awning Company before founding Copelands Inc. in 1964. He also established a newspaper, The News Leader, as well as Alpha Logic Systems, a computer mapping and special applications company. In addition, he was president of Woodfinch Farms and Executive Coaches. Later, he chaired the James County Historical Society, using this opportunity to help preserve and share history about the only county in Tennessee which ever went bankrupt
An accomplished musician, David directed the choir at several churches and was particularly known for his beautiful singing voice, adept whistling, and talent on the clarinet. He was a founding member of the Chattanooga Water Ski Club, and enjoyed fishing, boating, and waterskiing. Always one to try new things, he learned how to auctioneer, became a square dance caller, and even acted in plays while on the board of the PTA at Westview Elementary where Mike and Valerie were students. One of his greatest joys was spending time with friends and family, and he chronicled the Copeland family tree through his extensive work on genealogy. Throughout his life, his robust sense of humor remained one of his most unique traits.
David’s political involvement began when he co-managed the campaign of Lamar Baker for US Congress in 1966. In 1968, he was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature where he served for the next 24 years. While in the legislature, he was a fiscal expert and a member of the Finance Ways and Means, Fiscal Review, and a host of other committees. He was recognized in 1978 as Legislator of the Year by ALEC, was named to the Legislature’s Top Ten six times, was twice honored as Outstanding Legislator, and was selected as one of the top ten Most Effective Legislators each year the rating was conducted. During that time he also held the positions of County Coordinator and was a member of the Hamilton County Republican Party Steering Committee.
David was recognized as the father of the Tennessee Constitutional Amendment nicknamed the Copeland Cap. This measure, Proposal 9, proposed a Tennessee Constitutional Spending Limit in 1977 to balance the budget, constrain growth in spending, and require front-end budgeting of new programs. It was approved by a 2/3 popular vote. He was also chairman and organizer of the First National Tax Limitation Conference 1978 - "Tax Limitation: Reason or Revolution." In 1993, Copeland was a candidate for Tennessee Governor. From 1997-2005, David was a member and later chair of the Baroness Erlanger Hospital Board of Trustees.
Copeland was preceded in death by his parents, Reverend David Young (DY) Copeland, Jr., and Lora Ellen Kramp Copeland, his brother and sister-in-law Glenn Ray and Pat Copeland, and his grandson Trey Rutledge. He is survived by his wife of almost 69 years Mary Leamon Copeland, his son David Michael (Mike) Copeland and wife Phyllis, daughter Valerie Copeland Rutledge and husband Jack, grandson Will Copeland and wife Sarah, and granddaughter Ashley Rutledge and husband Jake McKim, brother, Tom Copeland and wife Carol, as well as Legrand and Terrie Williams, special friends, several nieces and nephews, and a host of relatives.
Memorial donations may be made to Morris Hill Baptist Church, 1804 Morris Hill Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421, or the David and Mary Copeland Endowed Scholarship in Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Department 6806, 605 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403. Pallbearers will be Will Copeland, Jonathan Copeland, Clay Copeland, Todd Leamon, Jake McKim, and Bill Bratton. Honorary pallbearers include all employees of Copelands Inc.

Funeral services will be 12:30 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in the funeral home chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel. Interment will follow the service at Chattanooga National Cemetery with Military Honors. Family will receive friends from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm Sunday and from 4:30 pm until 7:00 pm Monday at the funeral home.

Please share your memories with the family at www.chattanoogaeastbrainerdchapel.com

Arrangements are by the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 8214 E. Brainerd Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37421.