Raymond Dixon Copeland Jr., longtime funeral director and former owner of Copeland Funeral Homes, died on Feb. 15 of complications from Influenza. He was 92.
Copeland served more than 20,000 families in his seven-decade long mortuary career, according to obituary information provided by the family-operated Copeland Funeral Home.
Copeland opened each of his namesake funeral homes—one on Fifth Avenue in Coraopolis in 1954, another on Brodhead Road in Moon in 1969, and a Sewickley branch on Beaver Street in 1998.
The funeral home described him as "a hands-on operator, personally involved and always present for his devoted clients."
In 1972, Copeland, who had owned his own ambulance company, served as a founding member of Valley Ambulance Authority, which now operates from a University Boulevard facility.
Born in Sewickley in 1920, Copeland graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 1940, and went on to work at Ritchey Funeral Home in Sewickley.
In 1954, he purchased the former Troxell Funeral Home on Fifth Avenue, which still serves as Copeland's Coraopolis location.
"Dixon loved people and that is why his vocation of funeral service was second nature to him in his compelling spirit to help others," according to his obituary.
In Oct. 2012, he was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Geraldine Anne Larabee Copeland. He is survived by children Jessica Volante, Thomas Copeland, both of Moon Township, and Carin Copeland, of California, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Copeland was a veteran of World War II, having served as a corpsman and assistant chaplain in the Navy.
In addition to his work as a funeral director and business owner, Copeland served as a school board member for the former Coraopolis School District and was a member of the Coraopolis United Methodist Church.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Copeland's Coraopolis location. Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with burial following at Sewickley Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department, or to the Raymond D. and Geraldine L. Copeland trust, at 223 Fourth Avenue, Benedum Trees Building, Suite 707, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222.