Samuel F. Coppage, Jr.
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Norfolk - Dr. Samuel F. Coppage, Jr., passed away on March 9, 2014 at age 65 after a short illness. He was predeceased by his father, Dr. Samuel F. Coppage, Sr., a prominent Norfolk dentist and a community and civil rights leader, his mother Constance Jordan Coppage, his aunt, Dr. Mildred Jordan, and his much beloved "granny," Mrs. Hattie Blue Jordan. Sam was a very devoted son and nephew, caring for his mother and aunt lovingly for many years until their passing in recent years at ages 106 and 101.
Professionally, Dr. Coppage was a professor of information technology at the College of Business and Public Administration of Old Dominion University. Prior to joining the Old Dominion faculty in 1983, he worked at Bell Labs and as a private information systems consultant in New York City. Samuel earned his BS in Mathematics at Virginia State University, and a Master's of Science and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
Samuel Coppage was proud of the contributions he made to the quality of the educational experience of his students at Old Dominion as both a teacher and a mentor. One of his doctoral students wrote: "Dr. Coppage was my PhD advisor....As a Jamaican student, he counseled me on the ways of American culture, steered me clear of pitfalls in university life, guided my dissertation committee formation and topic and the start of my dissertation writing... What really affected me was how he would introduce me to anyone he was talking to, always proud of me as one of his PhD students. He made sure that by the time I walked away, they knew something good about me." In many ways Dr. Coppage was also the conscience of the College and University on curricular matters, ever mindful of the consequences of actions.
Dr. Coppage made many contributions to the Hampton Roads community. He served as a Commissioner of the Norfolk International Airport Authority, on the Boards of Directors of NATOFest (formerly Norfolk Azalea Festival), the Norfolk Sister City Association, and the Feldman Chamber Music Society, and on the Community Advisory Board for Tidewater Community College (Norfolk). He was an active member and supporter of the Democratic Party, and one of the first life-time members of the Youth Branch of the NAACP. In 2009 Dr. Coppage was the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award from Tidewater Community College.
Sam had a passion for living and made strong friendships wherever he went. Later in life he developed a keen interest in the people, culture and cuisine of the Bahian region of Brazil, becoming fluent in Portuguese and steeped in the study of candomblé.
He leaves behind his cousin Leon Bunch and his family as well as other cousins. Sam had many friends from the Hampton Roads area and from his years in New York City. During many of his days at Sentara hospital his room was filled with friends, relatives, and colleagues. We would like to give a very special thanks to Natalie L. Alford and Ernestine B. Matthis for their tireless dedication and loyalty to the Coppage family and especially to Sam over the last several months. They were at his bedside constantly during his illness, something Sam greatly appreciated.
A memorial service will be held on April 5th at 11 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 1400 E Brambleton Ave, Norfolk.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Mar. 15, 2014