T. Graham Copeland Jr.
Published 9:25 pm Monday, March 6, 2023
FRANKLIN – T. Graham Copeland Jr., 92, passed away March 4, 2023. Mr. Copeland was born on Jan. 26, 1931, to the late Thurman G. Copeland and Mary Sadie Bradshaw Copeland in the Suffolk Village of Holland, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1955 with a bachelor of science degree in Agronomy. His college was interrupted by the Korean War where he served three years with the U.S. Coast Guard. He was a proud graduate of Virginia Tech. His three sons and two grandchildren graduated from Virginia Tech.
Mr. Copeland retired as director of planning and development of the Virginia Department of Agriculture in 1987. During his 33 years with the department, he also served as the executive secretary to the Virginia Commissioner of the Industry of Agriculture and as farm manager and staff to the Chippokes Plantation Farm Foundation. He was a strong advocate of farmland preservation and soil conservation. During this time, he lived in Richmond and Mechanicsville and upon retirement he spent his time at Copeca Farms, Franklin and Eagle Point in Surry on the James River.
He served in many professional organizations including the Virginia Academy of Science, the State Land Evaluations and Advisory committee, the Virginia Council on the environment, the Federal Coastal Plains Commission and the Soil and Water Conservation. He was named the Outstanding Conservationist of the Year in 1985 by the Peanut Soil and Water Conservation District.
Community service included serving as president of the Hanover and Forks of the River Ruritan Clubs, the Washington and Mechanicsville PTAs. He was a charter member, deacon and Sunday School teacher at Westhill Baptist Church. He was the recipient of the Mechanicsville Jaycee Distinguished Service Award.
Mr. Copeland was predeceased by his wife of 68 years, Ann McClenny Copeland and a son, Thurman Davis “Dave” Copeland.
Left to cherish his memory are two sons, Jeffery G. Copeland (Susan) of Mechanicsville and Peter F. Copeland (Vicky), Copeca Farms of Franklin; six grandchildren, Graham Copeland, Dr. Amber D. Casstevens (Chad), Dr. M. Landon Copeland (Lyndsay), Nicole Copeland, Christopher Copeland and James Copeland; and six great-grandchildren, Maddy, Evelyn, Samson, Rose, Ruby and Rutledge.
The family would like to thank all of the staff at The Village, as well as his many caregivers for the care and support that was always there during this difficult time.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 7 in Wright Funeral Home with Dr. Charles Qualls officiating. Burial will follow in Poplar Spring Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service in the funeral home and suggests that in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to The Chippokes Plantation Farm Foundation, c/o Friends of Chippokes, 695 Chippokes Park, Surry, VA 23883.