School 12

James L. 'JL' Copas

October 20, 1923 ~ October 5, 2019 (age 95)


James L. 'JL' Copas, 95, of Urbana passed away Saturday at 11:44 a.m., 5 October 2019, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.  He was married to Mary Ann Coon, who predeceased him on 14 July 2008.

Born 20 October 1923 in Tompkinsville KY, he was the oldest son of Larkin & Florence (Chapman) Copas.

In 1941 the family moved to Buckley IL where JL graduated HS, then entered the army, being a Medic and part of the Normandy Invasion.  After WWII, he went to school at the Univ of MT in Missoula on the GI Bill, completed his undergrad and Master's in History, then taught school and coached basketball in Richey MT, where he met and married a fellow teacher, Mary Ann Coon, on  18 May 1951 in Sidney MT.   

James completed a second Master's in Library Science at the Univ of IL in Urbana-Champaign, and was employed as a Reference Librarian at Black Hawk College in Moline IL from 1964 until his retirement.  James valued Education as paramount, but he never forgot his Kentucky roots and rural farm background, remaining very involved in family farm properties in both Ford & Iriquois Co IL until his death.

He is survived by daughters Cheryl A. Copas (Hugh M. DeJarnette Jr) of Dawsonville GA and Tonya M. Boggs (Mitchell Boggs) of Marietta GA, six grandchildren (Hugh, Aerin [deRussy] & Emma DeJarnette, Arianna, Kolbrin & Julia Boggs) and one great grandson, Larkin deRussy.  One brother, William Jennings Copas of Thawville IL, predeceased him, one sister, Melba Jean Shepard of Urbana, survives.  Also surviving are a niece and nephew, and several great nieces and nephews.

He will be interred at the Nat’l Cemetery in Danville.


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