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1945 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
James COPELAND Obituary
COPELAND, Jr., James Edwin James Edwin Copeland, Jr., global accounting CEO, national and local civic leader, and beloved husband, father and grandfather, died peacefully Monday, January 8, 2018 at his home in Peachtree Corners in the company of those he loved. He was born January 30, 1945, in Norcross, Georgia to the late James Edwin Copeland, Sr. and Kathleen Wright Copeland. His father was an outstanding, three-sport athlete who combined a sales career with over four decades as a SEC football official. Jim inherited his father's love of sports, overcoming a serious childhood bout of rheumatic fever to win All-State recognition in football and basketball, and ultimately enrolling at Oglethorpe University on a basketball scholarship. He transferred to Georgia State University, where he excelled academically and athletically, winning the scholar athlete award at graduation. It was at Georgia State that he was introduced to accounting as a profession. It turned out to be an excellent career choice and in 2000 he was inducted into the Georgia State Business School Hall of Fame. The summer after graduation he married Patricia Watson, who survives him. In 2017, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of an extraordinary partnership. That same summer he joined the then modest-sized Haskins & Sells office in Atlanta. By 1982, at age 37, he was named managing partner of the Atlanta office of Deloitte Haskins & Sells. The office blossomed under his leadership and he was a leader in diversity and enhancing the role of women in the firm; he was also a leader in a push for excellence that powered the firm's growth; and he was a leader in the Atlanta community, chairing the board of United Way of Greater Atlanta and chairing the annual corporate campaign of the Woodruff Arts Center. Jim's leadership skills did not go unnoticed nationally and by the mid 90's he was part of Deloitte's leadership, becoming CEO of both the U.S. firm and the global firm in 1999, presiding over the integration of both firms into one Deloitte. In New York, his deep community involvement continued at increasingly higher levels. He was a board member of United Way International, the Japan Society, the New York Partnership, the CEO Roundtable, the Business Council of the World Economic Forum, and Catalyst, an organization dedicated to advancing women in corporate leadership. He served on the Board of the 9/11 Memorial Fund which raised over $400M of private funds for the victims. He made the personal decision to retire in 2003, in order to travel less and focus more on his five grandchildren who all lived near him. In retirement, he joined the boards of Coca Cola Enterprises, Equifax, Time Warner Cable, and ConocoPhillips. He was both a senior fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a Global Scholar at Georgia State University. He was the founding board chair of Voices for Georgia's Children, and an active board member of Norcross Cooperative Ministries. In 2010, he and two colleagues bought B.A.S.S. from ESPN, and executed a much-admired turnaround. In everything he did, his faith was front and center. He taught Sunday School and Bible study for more than 40 years; was the chair of the deacon board at Norcross First Baptist Church; and continued teaching at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church until just before his death. He never let doubt intervene, writing, "I find it impossible not to believe in God. Everything in nature and the human spirit demands that there is a higher power." To his family and friends, his was a life lived on all cylinders, full of activity, energy and accomplishments. His lofty achievements were always balanced by his deep faith, his genuine humility, and his intense love of family. In addition to his wife Patricia, he is survived by his two sons, James Edwin Copeland, III (Trip) of Atlanta and David Watson Copeland and his wife Darcy F. Copeland of Peachtree Corners; grandchildren James E. Copeland, IV, Ian Terrell Copeland, Watson Fields Copeland, Wyatt Reed Copeland, and Anna Rae Wright Copeland; by his two sisters Kay Copeland Price (Clayton) of Franklin, Tennessee and Gwynne Copeland Espy (Carl) of Cumming, Georgia, his step-brother David Shoemaker (Julie) of Athens, GA and by five nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 12, 2018 at 11am at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church, 4480 Peachtree Corners Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. A reception will immediately follow the service in the fellowship hall of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, Jim wished for donations to be sent to Norcross Cooperative Ministries, 2275 Mitchell Road, Norcross, GA 30071. On-line condolences may be made at Arrangements by Crowell Brothers Funeral Homes & Crematory, 5051 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. 770-448-5757.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Jan. 10 to Jan. 11, 2018
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