John T. Copeland, 73, passed away at his home in Vero Beach on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 with his wife and children at his side.
He was also a resident of Wellesley Mass., for 40 years and spent many summers at his home in Osterville, Mass. He remained strong to the end as he battled Lewy Body Disease, a form of Parkinson’s disease.
He was born in Cambridge, Mass., the son of Lillian and George Copeland on March 23, 1936. He grew up with his older brother Robert in Belmont, Mass. John graduated from Belmont Hill School in 1954.
During his time there, he was a three-sport letter winner. He starred as the running back on the football team, captained the hockey team, and received the Babe Ruth Award on the Baseball team.
Through his hard work he was accepted to Harvard University. At Harvard, he continued to hit the books and found more success on the field and rink where he lettered as an end in football and a defenseman in hockey.
He was known around his circles for his competitiveness, fierce body checks, and hard slap shot. John graduated from Harvard in 1958. During his summer days, he worked for the Osterville Ice Company as a delivery man and played in The Cape Cod Baseball League as a catcher.
He would later earn tryouts for the Boston Red Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Before entering the business world, John earned an MBA at Babson College in 1960. Later in life, John gave back to Babson as a member of its distinguished Presidents Circle Board.
On June 27, 1959, he married his high school sweetheart Vinnie Lynn Redd. They celebrated their 50th anniversary last June.
While starting his family, John had small jobs in the Boston area, until he took a position with Ford Motor Company as a Field Manager and moved to Glen Rock, N.J. in 1963.
After years of learning his trade, John had the opportunity to return to the Boston area and open a Toyota franchise. In 1970 he founded Copeland Toyota of Brockton, Mass.
Finding success in the auto business, he would soon own Framingham Ford and Village Chevrolet of Needham. Today, Copeland Toyota remains in his family.
Away from work, John’s love was coaching. He was a presence in the youth rinks of Wellesley and Greater Boston, and helped coach many championship teams, including one at the International Pee Wee Tournament in Quebec City.
Around the rinks and town, John will always be remembered for his trademark hat and long trench coat. He was a member of Brae Burn Country Club of West Newton, The Wianno Club of Osterville, and the John’s Island Club of Vero Beach.
He was an avid golfer who won a Club Championship at the Wianno Club and carried a low handicap of 5. He loved to practice and had a great short game.
Aside from his wife and true love of over 50 years, Vinnie, John is survived by his brother Robert M. Copeland and his wife Carla of Wolfeboro, N.H. and his sister-in-law, Sherry Green and her husband Alan Green of Centerville, Mass.
John raised his three children in Wellesley, where they remain with their families. They are Carrie Luke and her sons Griffin and Dawson. Robin Barker, her husband Craig and their children Blair, Blake, and Madison. Todd Copeland, his wife Katherine and their children John, Christine, Lauren, and Stephanie.
Memorial contributions may be made in memory of John T. Copeland to the VNA Hospice of Indian River County, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the J. S. Waterman & Sons-Waring Funeral Home, 592 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482. 781- 235-4110. For remembrances, please visit www.jswaterman.com