GEORGE EDWARD COPELAND, JR.
Our husband, father, grandfather, brother, in-law, uncle and friend George Edward Copeland, Jr. passed away on Tuesday April 25, 2023. Papa George signed off on a life surrounded by loving children and grandchildren, many friends, hunting camps and food plots and blind building, traveling, hunting trips, fishing trips, boating, flying his own airplane, tending to his rose gardens, following the Bulldogs, pranking friends – especially Ole Miss friends, and telling convincing but untrue outrageous stories to all.
George began as the oldest son of Ed and Wanda Copeland in Meridian, Mississippi in 1948. After the Copeland clan moved to Jackson, Mississippi, George was graduated from Murrah High School in 1966. There he met Nan Wideman, who he later talked into marrying him in 1978. From Murrah, George moved on to Mississippi State University, graduating in 1966.
Following Mississippi State, George followed his father in the class ring and school yearbook business representing L. G. Balfour Company and then the Jostens Company for 45 years. He drove the back roads of Mississippi calling on all the high schools, junior colleges, and colleges, making friend after friend at each. These “school people” remained friends for life. It was a regular occurrence for the graduated students to speak to George at gas stations, restaurants, and other public venues to confirm he was the “ring man” that sold them their ring – some from as long as 30 years earlier.
You cannot tell George’s story without recalling the Big BrakeDuck Club. George became passionate about duck hunting from his father at an early age. Throughout high school and his early professional years, George and his friends slugged through the mud fields and swamps of the Mississippi Delta. Tiring of the public hunting, George and his father established Big Break Duck Club in Humphreys County Mississippi. George went on to become the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the duck camp, informally referred to as the Grand Poohbah. For more than 30 years George was in his element as leader, chief comedian, master of pranks, duck and deer development planner, barbeque chef, and occasional shooter of ducks. Thousands of friends and relatives, “school people,” supervisors, politicians, outdoor writers, and others passed through the camp, all asking how George could find such large steaks. One of George’s many innovative ideas was the Big BrakeChurch/School/Dinner Bus that made regular Friday and Saturday night trips to the finest restaurants in the Delta. Again, the Grand Poohbah in his element as the consummate host.
You also cannot tell George’s story without recognizing the consummate host in Destin, Florida. When George was not calling on schools, or chasing the ducks, he was boating in Destin. When the schools were out, George and Nan entertained family and friends in Destin all summer long.
After retirement in 2013, George and Nan moved to Ebenezer, Mississippi, the historic location of Nan’s family. In Ebenezer, George gardened his roses, tended to the tree farms, rode the county in his side by side, and developed ponds and deer food plots for the children and grandchildren to hunt and fish. Every holiday and every weekend during deer season, the grandchildren and their friends came to play with “Papa George.”
George is survived by his wife of 45 years, Nan Wideman. George also left behind two sons: Edward Copeland, MD (Debbie) and Spencer Copeland, two stepsons: Claiborne Frazier and Austin Frazier (Britney), a brother: Greg Copeland (Dalene), two sisters: Pat Quinn and Susan Copeland, a brother-in-law: Yandell Wideman, eight grandchildren: Wells Frazier, Julianna Copeland, Lily Frazier, Posey Frazier, Elizabeth Copeland, Walt Copeland, Piper Frazier, Alexa Frazier and many nephews and nieces.
To share a memory of George, or send a condolence to his family, please visit www.mortimerfh.com. If you are inclined, the family invites you to donate to Ebenezer Methodist Church, 3390 Ebenezer Road, Lexington, MS 39095, or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in the place of flowers.
A graveside service will be held on Thursday May 4 at 11:00 AM in the family cemetery in Ebenezer, Mississippi, with Dr. Jack Wooten, Minister of the Ebenezer Methodist Church,presiding. After the service lunch will be served for all at the family home in Ebenezer. All of George’s friends are invited to participate.