William "Bill" E. Copeland
June 14, 1936 – May 13, 2019
William “Bill” E. Copeland passed away on May 13, 2019 at age 82. Bill was born in Birmingham, Alabama to the late Bessie Stephens and Patrick F. Copeland. He was the only son of six children and was spoiled and doted on by his sisters; all of whom loved and adored their “Billy.” That strong bond continued throughout their lives.
Bill was determined to make the most of his life and ended up with a quite remarkable one. He dropped out of high school to join the Navy and see the world. The Navy offered him the opportunity to complete his high school education and later attend Birmingham-Southern College from which he graduated in 1961; becoming the first in his family to graduate from college. While at Birmingham-Southern, Bill met his beautiful and talented wife, Jacqueline Turner Copeland. They were married from 1962 until her death in 2011.
In 1965, Bill joined the United States Secret Service; beginning his career with the agency in Atlanta, Georgia. He was later stationed in Washington D.C. where he served on the White House detail. He was subsequently stationed in New Orleans, LA; Wichita, KS and then back home to Alabama to the office in Montgomery, Alabama where he remained until his retirement in 1995. During his 30 years with the agency, Bill had the honor of protecting every President that served during that period from Lyndon Johnson through Bill Clinton; as well as Vice Presidents, Cabinet members, presidential and vice-presidential family members and candidates, former presidents such as Dwight Eisenhower whose life he was credited with saving after the General experienced a heart attack while Bill was on duty and numerous visiting dignitaries such as the King of Sweden, Pope John Paul II, the Queen of Denmark and many others. Bill’s job took him around the globe to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.
After he retired, Bill continued to travel the world with his wife Jackie and became an avid golfer where he spent many days on the greens at Arrowhead Country Club. He was also fortunate to play poker every Wednesday night with a great group of friends.
Bill is preceded in death by his wife; parents and sisters Barbara Ann Copeland, Patricia “Patsy” Helen Copeland and Betty Jean Miller. He is survived by his other two sisters; Mary Carol Stewart and Martha Diane Copeland; as well as numerous nieces and nephews who all loved “Uncle Bill.” Bill is also survived by his daughters, Denise Copeland and her fiancé John Allen; as well as Dawn Copeland and her fiancée Tammy Cade. Even though they lived in different cities, the five of them spent every Saturday in the fall virtually watching the Alabama Crimson Tide football game together sending either celebratory or derogatory comments to each other following every play. Even in his later years, Bill’s desire for adventure and travel never waned and he continued to travel with his daughters and their significant others all across Europe to Russia, Spain, France, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and beyond. Bill was a huge Harry Potter fan and his last trip was to London to specifically see the play; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the West End. He was even wearing his beloved Harry Potter socks at the time of his death.
Come to our Celebration of Life at 2pm on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Bring your stories to share as we enjoy great food, drinks and fellowship. The Memorial service will follow at 3pm at Alabama Heritage Funeral Home.
- Celebration of Life Gathering Saturday, May 18, 2019
- Celebration of Life Service Saturday, May 18, 2019
- Committal Service Saturday, May 18, 2019
William "Bill" E. Copeland
May 16, 2019
I had the privilege to meet Bill Copeland a few times thanks to his visits to New York City to see his daughter and my dear dear friend Dawn - one time that stands out involved a visit to see Dawn when she was in hospital; I gave him a ride back to Brooklyn from Manhattan. We had a lively and very educational conversation as he told me fascinating stories from his life in the Secret Service - it was clear then and more so now that I have read his obituary that Bill was one of those unsung heroes who lives a life of public service that few of us ever see or acknowledge. I would like to honor his service to our nation and to send my love and deepest condolences to Dawn and Tammy and Denise and John - he will live on in your hearts and in the unseen history of this country
May 15, 2019
Rest In Peace. We were together for three years in the Montgomery Resident Agency, US Secret Service, and after retirement, we both worked for the US State Department. You have earned your eternal rest.