Retired Master Sgt. Michael "Mike" Kopanski, 58, died unexpectedly Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Carteret County Hospital.
The family will receive friends from 3 to 5 p.m. today, Aug. 17, at Jones Funeral Home in Swansboro.
A memorial will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 at Swansboro United Methodist Church with Dr. Ed Gunter officiating.
Mike was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., to Ron and Nita Kopanski on Sept. 10, 1954. He was a Golden Gloves champion during high school in 1971 and 1972. Mike enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1973 and began his service at Parris Island, S.C. He met his wife of 36 years, retired Master Sgt. Joanne Clarke-Pounder in July, 1976, at Cherry Point. She also served in the Marine Corps.
For 22 years, Mike served his country in the Marine Corps and was a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and Operation Desert Storm. After retiring in 1995, Mike worked at the Jacksonville Mall and later at Carebridge Assisted Living, where he enjoyed helping out the residents. In 2001, Mike and Joanne ventured together as partners in the H&R Block franchise in Swansboro and Morehead City and expanded another business partnership in Jacksonville. He was an avid golfer, a member of the VFW, played Judas in the "Last Supper" at Trinity Methodist Church, and was an active member of Swansboro United Methodist Church.
Mike lived each day to the fullest and loved all his family, friends and fellow Marines. He was a true Marine and loved and served his country with pride and dignity. His favorite past time was golf, not only playing it, but accumulating a significant amount of equipment in an attempt to improve his game; not to forget the 19th hole! He loved to spend quality time with his family – boating, motorcycle riding, traveling, gardening, and tinkering around the house. Most of all, Mike enjoyed the great outdoors and spending quality time with his family.
He is survived by his loving wife, Joanne Kopanski; two daughters, Heidi Hoffman and son-in-law, Capt. Eric Hoffman of Quantico, Va., and Tina Atkinson and son-in-law Staff Sgt. Spencer Atkinson of Hubert, and granddaughter, Tia Marie Hoffman. He also is survived by his parents, Ron and Nita; two brothers, Ronnie (Terry) Kopanski and Tony (Susan) Kopanski; four sisters, Cindy (Mike) Shelley, Linda Blodgett, Barb (Kevin) Lowe, and Dawn (Corky) Vandergeld and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins – and Joanne's extended family on the Clarke-Pounder side.
Mike would not want us to mourn over his death, but celebrate and cherish his life and the great memories we have of him.
Flowers (outside live plants only for his Memorial Garden) are welcome or memorials may be made to Wounded Warrior Regiment, 3025 John Quick Road, MCB Quantico, Va. 22134, care of charitable donations coordinator. Make checks payable to Dept. of Navy Gift Fund with the memo line to state Wounded Warrior Regiment.
Electronic Condolences may be left for the family at jonesfh.org or at JDNews.com.