James L. “JL” Copas

James L. “JL” Copas

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URBANA — James L. “JL” Copas, 95, of Urbana, formerly of Buckley, died at 11:44 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

Mr. Copas will be interred at the National Cemetery in Danville.

Born on Oct. 20, 1923, in Tompkinsville, Ky., Mr. Copas was the oldest son of Larkin and Florence (Chapman) Copas.

In 1941, the family moved to Buckley, where he graduated high school. He then entered the Army, being a medic and part of the Normandy Invasion. After World War II, he went to school at the University of Montana in Missoula on the GI Bill, completing his undergrad and master’s degrees in history. He then taught school and coached basketball in Richey, Mont., where he met and married a fellow teacher, Mary Ann Coon, on May 18, 1951, in Sidney, Mont. She died on July 14, 2008.

Mr. Copas completed a second master’s degree in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he was employed as a reference librarian at Black Hawk College in Moline from 1964 until his retirement.

Mr. Copas 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 and Iroquois counties until his death.

Surviving are two 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) and Emma DeJarnette, and Arianna, Kolbrin and Julia Boggs; one great-grandson, Larkin deRussy; one sister, Melba Jean Shepard of Urbana; a niece and nephew; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by one brother, William Jennings Copas of Thawville.

Condolences may be offered at renner-wikoffchapel.com.