Leon Troy Copeland

Leon Troy Copeland

Passed: February 01, 2024
Charleston, WV

Leon Troy Copeland

Passed: February 01, 2024
Charleston, WV


Leon Troy Copeland, 81, of Charleston, West Virginia, died peacefully at home on February 1, 2024, after a long period of declining health.

He was born June 9, 1942, in McCloud, Oklahoma, the second of five children, to the late Troy and Lydia (Hammermeister) Copeland.

In 1972, he married Sandra “Sandy” Kay (Honaker) Copeland, with whom he shared over 51 years in partnership building a life and raising a family.

Leon is survived by his loving wife, Sandy; son, Shawn Copeland and his wife, Jane, of Davidson, North Carolina; daughter, Lisa Barnett and her husband, Monty, of South Charleston; daughter, Lindsey Goins and her husband, Michael, of Charleston; his grandchildren, Grace Anne Copeland, Gibson Copeland, Jenna Barnett, Wyatt Barnett, Keaton Goins, and Sullivan Goins; sister, Phyllis Copeland, of Selah, Washington; brother Leonard Copeland and his wife, Beverly “Bev”, of South Bend, Indiana; brother, Loren Copeland, of South Bend, Indiana; first cousin, Judy Harrington, of Ft. Wayne, Indiana; and a host of other cousins, nieces, and nephews scattered from West Virginia to Washington State, and many places in between.

He was preceded in death by, among others, his parents and his brother, Ronald Copeland, who died as an infant before Leon was born.

Raised in South Bend, Indiana, Leon graduated from James Whitcomb Riley High School in South Bend in 1960, the University of Michigan in 1964, and the University of Indiana School of Law in 1967. While proud of his Midwestern roots and imbued with its commonsense, plain-spoken values, he loved his adopted home of West Virginia. He arrived in the Mountain State in 1967 as a community service volunteer with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), the domestic counterpart to the Peace Corps. The remarkable – and entertaining – story of Leon’s arrival in West Virginia with VISTA and his life of public service is captured beautifully in the September 25, 2018, Charleston Gazette-Mail “Innerviews” profile written by the late Sandy Wells available here.

His was a life of service – to the public, his community, legal clients in need of his help, and most of all to his beloved family and cherished friends. His legal career was wide-ranging and included several stints in private practice and service as the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of West Virginia and as an Administrative Law Judge for the West Virginia Workers Compensation Commission. He represented Kanawha County as a two-term member of the West Virginia House of Delegates in the 1970s. He was gifted with a keen intellect, unshakable sense of conviction, razor sharp wit, and compassion for those in need. Throughout his life in the law and public service, he marshaled his gifts and talents to help others. While he was a fierce advocate and formidable opponent in the courtroom, he understood the difference between adversary and enemy, practicing Shakespeare’s admonition to “do as adversaries in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.”

Family was the center of his life. Leon cherished Sandy, who was his partner in life and his selfless caregiver in his last years. He delighted in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren — with the cumulative time he spent attending swim meets, basketball and baseball games, and soccer matches likely measured in years. Leon was proud of his immigrant ancestry – his maternal grandparents of German heritage immigrated to the United States and were naturalized as U.S. citizens on the day he was born. The son of a tile artisan who taught him to be resourceful and skilled with his hands, there seemed to be nothing he could not repair or build.

Leon had a lifelong love of photography and deep appreciation for music that ranged from the folk and protest songs of Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, to the “outlaw” county/western music of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. He perfected recipes for home-brewed beers in the 1970s, long before it was a fad. He enjoyed traveling, which he and Sandy were able to do much of – both throughout the country and internationally – later in life before his health began to decline.

Leon retained a deep, abiding faith in God through the end of his life. While communicating became increasingly difficult for him in his later days, he declared just days before his passing that “God saves the people.”

Leon’s family extends their heartfelt gratitude to his caregivers, Lela and Jennifer, whose assistance and compassion enabled Leon to remain at home, comfortable in the presence of family, throughout a prolonged period of health challenges.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.

Messages of remembrance and condolence for the family may be directed to www.barlowbonsall.com.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to The Salvation Army or Hospice.

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.

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9 responses to Leon Troy Copeland

  1. Korok Biswas says:

    Dr. Biswas’s family is very sorry for your loss.


    Korok, Kallol, Dave, Dr. Ron, Leela, and Lehka Biswas

  2. Sincere condolences to Sandy, Lisa, Lindsey. and the rest of the Copeland family for your loss. Jerry Ferrell

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Faye Jones says:

    I am truly sorry for the family’s loss of their beloved husband, father,
    and grandfather. Heartfelt prayers and thoughts for a healing for all from this sadness and grief. love to all of you.

  5. We are so sorry for the loss of your husband and father.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family.
    May God give you all Peace and Comfort at this time.

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