Vyrl Richard ""Dick"" Couperthwaite (1915 - 2013)

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  • - Shannon Mitchell
  • "With fond memories"
    - Fran and Chuck Yannul
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Vyrl Richard "Dick" Couperthwaite, 98, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, died Wednesday, September 18, 2013, in Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Rockingham County, Virginia.

Mr. Couperthwaite was born in 1915, in Windber, Pennsylvania, the son of Francis and Anna Couperthwaite. He was a Veteran having served in the United States Army during World War II, achieving the rank of sergeant during his enlistment. Mr. Couperthwaite received the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster after being twice wounded in St. Lo, France.

Upon discharge from the Army, he joined the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. After many years as a patrol officer, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assigned to the Police Academy Administrative Headquarters where he worked as an Instructor and Recruiter.

Mr. Couperthwaite was one of the first Police Composite Artists in the country. He designed the proto-type of the patrolman's "Identi-Kit" carried in every police car in America. Using his skills as a sculptor, he assisted the FBI in solving the infamous "Jackson family" murder. The details of that case are featured in Andrew Tully's 1983 book, "Inside the FBI."

Mr. Couperthwaite created the cartoon "Meet the Judge," a comical look at police traffic regulations which was published in the Washington Post newspaper.

During his career with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, he received numerous awards, letters and commendations. He retired in 1965.

Mr. Couperthwaite began painting in earnest after retirement. His artwork, sculptures and woodcarvings are displayed in churches, municipal buildings and private collections throughout the world. His portrait of the slain police officer, Sgt. Ricky Timbrook, hangs in the Timbrook Public Safety Building in Winchester, Virginia.

Mr. Couperthwaite designed the commemorative plaque used by the Frederick County Historical Society to designate historically significant buildings and landmarks in Frederick County, Virginia.

Of his more than one thousand paintings, he considered the fifteen, life-sized, religious paintings which he created for St. John's Lutheran Church, the Good Shepherd Church and the Chapel of VMRC, to be his greatest legacy.

Mr. Couperthwaite married Dorothy Clark on October 17, 1942, in Columbus, Georgia. She preceded him in death on July 21, 2008.

Surviving are his sons, Bill Couperthwaite, and Bob Couperthwaite and wife, Jan. Dick is also survived by his niece, Donna Hutcherson and husband, Jack and their children Donald, Mark, Jennifer, and their spouses, as well as Dick's great-great niece and nephew.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, from 4:00-6:00 PM at Omps Funeral Home, Amherst Chapel.

A memorial service will be conducted at 6:00 PM on Wednesday at Omps Funeral Home, Amherst Chapel with Mr. David A. Owings officiating. Interment will be in St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery, Mountain Falls, Virginia, at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:
"Dollard-Suter Family Fund" (www.dsffund.org)
or "Wounded Warrior Project"

Please view obituaries and tribute wall at

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Omps Funeral Home - Amherst Chapel
1600 Amherst Street
Winchester, VA 22601
(540) 662-6633
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Published in Northern Virginia Daily on Sept. 23, 2013
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