URBANA — James L. "JL" Copas, 95, of Urbana passed away Saturday at 11:44 a.m., 5 October 2019, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was married to Mary Ann Coon, who predeceased him on 14 July 2008.
Born 20 October 1923 in Tompkinsville, Ky., he was the oldest son of Larkin and Florence (Chapman) Copas.
In 1941 the family moved to Buckley, Ill., where JL graduated high school, then entered the Army, being a Medic and part of the Normandy Invasion. After World War II, he went to school at the University of Montana in Missoula on the GI Bill, completed his undergrad and Master's in History, then taught school and coached basketball in Richey, Mont., where he met and married a fellow teacher, Mary Ann Coon, on 18 May 1951 in Sidney, Mont.
James completed a second Master's in Library Science at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and was employed as a Reference Librarian at Black Hawk College in Moline, Ill., from 1964 until his retirement. James valued Education as paramount, but he never forgot his Kentucky roots and rural farm background, remaining very involved in family farm properties in both Ford and Iroquois counties until his death.
He is survived by daughters Cheryl A. Copas (Hugh M. DeJarnette Jr.) of Dawsonville, Ga., and Tonya M. Boggs (Mitchell Boggs) of Marietta, Ga.; six grandchildren (Hugh, Aerin [deRussy] and Emma DeJarnette, Arianna, Kolbrin and Julia Boggs); and one great-grandson, Larkin deRussy. One brother, William Jennings Copas of Thawville, Ill., predeceased him; one sister, Melba Jean Shepard of Urbana, survives. Also surviving are a niece and nephew and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
He will be interred at the National Cemetery in Danville.
Condolences may be offered at renner-wikoffchapel.com.