Robert E. Copeland

Obituary
5 entries | 1 photo
  • "Robert, Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo..."
    - Julie Dwyre-Zuckerman
  • "You were a continuing inspiration to all who knew you..."
    - BARBARA EARLEY
  • "Robert was my Jazz Piano student, on and off for over 20..."
    - Chris Mares
  • "I remember how the children would swarm around Mr. Copeland..."
    - Lindsie Farmer
  • "I remember Robert fondly as caring special ed teacher at..."
    - Laura Campbell
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Robert E. Copeland



Robert Eugene Copeland passed from this world on January 29, 2018. Born on August 15, 1956 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he was the youngest of three children born to Olive Marie Seaberry Copeland and Eugene Hill Copeland.

Robert is survived by his wife, Laura Sue Copeland; sister, Edith Elizabeth Copeland; brother, R.U. Kidding; daughter, Hannah Camilia Bluhm.

Robert was born and lived with a debilitating illness similar to rheumatoid arthritis until it went into remission when he was eight years old. Robert felt empathy for the weak and vulnerable throughout his life and firmly supported FDR's vision of a caring America and Martin Luther King's vision of an inclusive America.

Robert began studying piano soon after he began first grade and never stopped practicing, studying, and performing. As a teenager, he began practicing close-up magic, another interest that was highly developed and life-long.

Robert attended Valley High School and The Community School in Albuquerque. He studied music at the University of New Mexico where he developed a life-long interest in jazz. In the late nineteen-seventies he moved to Eugene, Oregon to embark on a professional music career. While there, he studied at the University of Oregon and lived in a Christian commune, "Liberation House," where he had a "born again" experience that shaped the rest of his life.

Robert decided to return to Albuquerque so he could be near his daughter. Robert continued to write poetry, songs with original lyrics, and instrumental pieces. He performed in Albuquerque jazz groups, rock-and-roll and blues bands, and even a country band or two. As a soloist he played in bars, churches, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, and he also delighted listeners with stupendous magic tricks, delivered with great humor. Eventually he became a special education teacher and made a positive difference in the lives of many students and staff.

In April, 2007, Robert was diagnosed with primary amyloidosis. He received treatment at the Mayo Clinic, married his girlfriend, Laura Zimmerman, and lived symptom free until October 2010. From the day of his diagnosis until his death, Robert committed himself to overcoming every obstacle the disease put in his path. He did this with unwavering optimism and devotional practices from Christianity and Buddhism. During his illness Robert volunteered support of homeless families and individuals, continued attending jazz and blues jams, enjoyed performing magic illusions, and deepened his connection with his wife, Laura, who gave so much to sustain him over the long course of his illness.

A celebration of Robert's life will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2017, 4:00 p.m. at Unity Spiritual Center, 9800 Candelaria NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112.

In lieu of flowers, the family recommends a donation be made to Cancer Support Now, of Albuquerque, NM.

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Feb. 4, 2018