Delbert Earle Copenhaver
January 21, 1925 – February 7, 2019
DEB COPENHAVER (Age 94) -
Deb Copenhaver went to his eternal home on Thursday, February 7, 2019. He peacefully passed in his sleep following a full life of living and giving back.
He was born January 21, 1925 in Wilbur, Washington. At the outbreak of WWII at the age of 16 he enlisted in the Navy and was deployed to North Africa serving in the SeaBee’s construction battalion building air strips.
Upon returning home he began a successful career in Professional Rodeo where he achieved two Worlds Championships in 1955 and 1956. His record of accomplishments is listed in the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs among others including the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) in Spokane. He served on the Rodeo Cowboy Assoc. board in 1958, which initiated the first National Final Rodeo now in Las Vegas, NV. He was named Inland Empire Athlete of the Year in 1955.
The American Quarter Horse Association honored him for his contributions for over 60 years to the quarter horse industry. During those years, he started Sunrise Quarter Horse Race Track in Spokane, Rimrock Meadows Race Track in Ephrata, WA and Meadow Creek Race Track in British Columbia. Following his retirement from rodeo, he established Deb’s Cafe, a country music restaurant and dance hall in Creston, WA that drew patrons from all over the Northwest. Simultaneously he formed Copenhaver Construction with his sons Guy and Matt. Through their management skills the company has expanded throughout the Northwest. Deb joined his son Pastor Jeff Copenhaver (1975 World Champion Calf Roper) in a dream to build a log church in Granbury Texas. He helped finance and establish Frontier Cowboy Church in 1994. In 1999 he and his wife Cheryl built the Roadside Chapel in Creston Washington on Hwy. 2, where travelers stop to contemplate and pray. For 25 Years they held an annual Christian Cowboy Camp Meeting in their indoor arena where hundreds were baptized in the horse trough though the years. For the last 9 years he has encouraged and supported his daughter Kellie, founder of Grace So Amazing Ministries in Haiti. His impact on his daughter Deborah Fellows helped shape her love of horses and the west that can be seen in her art.
He is survived by his five children: Deborah Copenhaver (Fred) Fellows, Jeff (Sherry) Copenhaver, Guy (Vallesha) Copenhaver, Kellie Copenhaver (Fred) Hurt and Matt (Kalo) Copenhaver and his nine grandchildren: Fabienne Fellows (Brian) Averill, Shandy Copenhaver (Cody) Stromberg, Madeline Hurt (Jeff) Recker, FP (Colleen) Hurt, Benton Hurt, Machaella Copenhaver (Justin) Hauge, Elizabeth Copenhaver, Savanna and Beau Copenhaver, and eleven great grandchildren. His elder sister Norma Echelbarger. Deb is preceded in death by his wife Cheryl in 2016, brother Jack Copenahaver and a sister Barbara jean Griggas.
Funeral services with will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 11:00 AM at the Life Center 1202 West Government Way, Spokane, WA 99224. Deb will lie-state at the Strate Funeral Home, 505 10th St. Davenport, WA 99122 on Friday, February 15, 2019 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM.
Memorial donations can be sent to: Copenhaver’s Road side Chapel Preservation Fund P.O. Box 109, Creston, WA 99117. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.stratefuneralhome.com for the Copenhaver family. STRATE FUNERAL HOME, Davenport, WA is caring for the family.
- Visitation Friday, February 15, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, February 16, 2019
Delbert Earle Copenhaver
February 14, 2019
My condolences and prayers to Deb's family. Deb was my friend and mentor. I will always remember our time working together at Rimrock. We have lost a good one. Deb was the best!
All my prayers at this time,
P.S. My wife Karla and I have made a contribution to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Deb's name.
February 14, 2019
When we first came to Creston, he was the first person we met. We were in a rough patch in our lives. Matt had just lost his brother, we had a new baby, and trying to find a place to call home. We had stopped at the prayer chapel to pray together as a family. Deb walked in, I still remember his little figure walking through the door. The words he said were just what we needed to hear. We sang together, cried together, and found a deep friendship that day. The next week we found our house in town at the time and never looked back. Our children came to know him as Papa Deb. You will always hold a special place in our hearts. Love you, Matt, Anna, Emma, Hailey, Benjamin, Hannah, and William Harvey