LEE ROY COPELAND JR

Obituary
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LEE ROY COPELAND, JR Lee Roy Copeland, Jr. was born March 17, 1924 to Lee Roy Copeland and Elenora (Talley) in Capitan, New Mexico and died at the University of Kansas Hospital on December 7, 2012. Roy was preceded in death by his parents and sisters: Barbara Ann, Nadine (Beller), Louise (Purcella); stepmother, Dosca Copeland; wife, Lena (Garcia) and daughter, Frances Ann (Stevens). Roy ran track and played football at Capitan High. He entered the Army after graduation in 1943. He and his unit, the 398th Engineer Regiment, soldiered from Normandy into the Rhineland before Roy joined a new regiment being sent to the Pacific. The war ended with Roy at sea, north of the Philippines, preparing for the invasion of Japan. Upon his return, Roy enrolled at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts where he met and married the late Marjorie Jean Matthews. In 1950, Roy took his civil engineering degree and wife to Yuma where he worked for the Department of Reclamation and later, the San Bernardino office of the California Highway Department. Roy and his young family returned to New Mexico where he began a long career with the State Highway Department. The early years were spent out where roads were being built, living in trailers in Aztec and Cloudcroft among other places, and finally a house in Alamogordo. By 1957 Roy was an Assistant District Engineer in Deming and later in Roswell. Roy and Marge moved to Santa Fe in 1959 with three children and a dog. He said his new Technical Service job out of NMSHD headquarters was the best he ever had. He travelled the state solving design and construction problems and making acquaintances in various tribes, counties, ranches, cities and the legislature. He claimed to have walked every station of the new Interstate highways from Gallup to Glenrio and Sunland to Raton Pass and Lordsburg. He was elected president of the department's employee association. Roy and Marge divorced in 1975. Roy climbed the ranks to head the Maintenance Division where he oversaw the inception of the nation's first state bridge inspection program. He was a registered professional engineer and land surveyor and he was a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Roy was inducted to the Academy of Civil Engineering at New Mexico State University. Roy married Lena in 1978 and the two enjoyed many years with family and friends until Lena's untimely death in 2006. Retiring in 1985, Roy enjoyed his golf games and Hyde Park cookouts with Lena and friends. Roy and Lena frequently travelled to see friends and family around the country. A trip to England and Scotland was a sentimental journey for Roy as he found the cuisine had not improved since his previous visit in 1943. Roy is survived by sister, Loree Burton of Indio, California; son, David and wife Roseann Copeland of Overland Park, Kansas; daughter, Kay Davis of Euless, Texas; stepson, Robert and wife Yolanda Garcia of Las Cruces; stepdaughter, Helen Garcia of Redlands, California; and stepson, Michael Garcia of Santa Fe. Roy leaves eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. A memorial will be held at Hillcrest Covenant Church, Prairie Village, Kansas at 11 a.m. on December 19. A funeral service will be held at St. Johns United Methodist Church in Santa Fe at 1 p.m. on December 27 followed by interment at Santa Fe National Cemetery. A memorial has been established at The Food Depot in Santa Fe, www.thefooddepot.org.

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