It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Jean Copeland on November 23, 2021 at the age of 95.
Jeanetta Vern Marshall was born in Landis Saskatchewan on January 4, 1926, to Mike and Janet Marshall. She came to the Peace region at two years of age by covered wagon alongside her parents, grandparents, and siblings and settled into what was known at the time as Whiskey Creek. The name was later changed by her mother Janet to what we know now as Rose Prairie. At 18 Jean started a journey which would fuel her passion to teach. Each day she rode her horse from North Pine to the Whispering Pine school and worked there as a teacher. She developed skills that she would use for the rest of her life. Shortly after beginning work as a teacher, diphtheria arrived in the country and she found herself on a sleigh pulled by Sandy & Silver, her future husband Len Copeland’s pulling team. They took her nephew who was infected with the disease to the Dawson Creek hospital. Jean held him on the sleigh the whole way. They were placed in quarantine and were married February 1, 1946, while awaiting release. She always spoke of her distaste for vodka and fruitcake because that was what they were gifted for their wedding dinner. She also fondly recalled, that although she did not get married in her wedding gown, her daughter Vicki would later wear it for her wedding.
Len and Jean moved around the peace region a fair amount throughout their lives together. They had their first child Wes, while living on their homestead in Rose Prairie. While here they commuted to White Rock to help her father with the snow as he had lost his vision because of an injury during the first World War. It wasn’t long until the family packed up and moved along with their children to mile 110 where Len was working at a bush camp. Jean raised their family all while cooking for the crew of the camp. They finally settled in Buick at Squaw Creek and lived in tents for the winter until the snow fall collapsed them. Their lifelong friend and neighbour Jim Large saved the day, dragging a grainery to be their home until Len could finish building their new home. Jean grew beautiful, fruitful gardens that would support their family through the long winters. In the fall she would ride the binder and operate the pedals, helping put up bundles for the cattle and horses.
Together, Len and Jean had 9 children. Along with the many others who would come to find a place in Jean’s heart. She taught at the school in Buick for the years that they lived there. In the 1980’s they found themselves back in Rose Prairie. Jean Continued teaching this time at Upper Pine Elementary. To the very end Jean was a teacher. She taught her children, many of her grandchildren, even teaching at Charlie Lake Elementary as a spare teacher recently. She was also teaching one of the men living in Peace Villa with her to read using the bible.
She was an active member of the Women’s Institute, attending many meetings and going on trips to rallies and conventions. She crafted beautiful knit and crochet items for many people throughout her life. It could not be considered Christmas if every member of the family did not receive a pair of handmade mittens or socks in their gift. New babies to the family were gifted with a baby sleeper or dress and her granddaughters always loved getting dolls newly furnished with handmade dresses. Her entries in the North Peace Fall Fair often cleaned up, she could be seen every fair weekend with a large pile of her goods along with plenty of ribbons.
Jean loved to support her family, attending countless sporting events, she was always a top cheerleader at hockey games and rodeos. She travelled many miles around the west coast, attending Rodeo’s that Len, her children or grandchildren were competing in. In later years she travelled with Len and their son Bill, making sure that whoever ran the office of the next Heavy Horse Pull did a good job. Keeping her own score sheets wherever they went. She volunteered at the North Peace Fall Fair Heavy Horse Pull as an administrator in the office. Helping to keep everything running smoothly.
She was happiest with her family around her. Massive Christmas dinners with her kids and grandkids. Boxing days with Len, the family and the neighbours piling onto sleighs for rides. Family reunion’s when her brothers and sisters and their families joined. No matter the occasion, she would be the one with the song book, singing and enjoying the music. She was always present at dances, loving Sunday music at Peace Lutheran, she never let anything stop her from enjoying a good waltz or two step.
Jean will be greeted in her final resting place by her parents Michael and Janetta Marshall, siblings Harvey, Mary, Violet, Gladys, Eugene, Annie, Robert, Louise, and William. Her husband Lenard Copeland, Her son Wes Copeland, grand children Darren Pugh and Amanda Malm, daughter in laws Louise Copeland and Elaine Copeland and countless other friends and family members.
She leaves behind Wes’s wife (Kathy), Andy, Pat (Tim), Gail (Jim), Vicki (Craig), Dale (Cathy), Marj (Larry), Judy (Dean), Billy (Alana), thirty grand-children and fourty – one great grandchildren, along with the many others she considered her children and grandchildren and countless friends.
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