John R. Copeland
Norfolk – John R. Copeland of Colonial Place in Norfolk died peacefully in his home on May 28, 2017 just a week shy of his 64th birthday.
John, a true Norfolkian, grew up in Larchmont where he and six other boys forged a deep and abiding friendship that continues to this day.
John graduated from Maury in 1971. He went on to earn his BA in Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech in 1975. He also studied art and Landscape Architecture at ODU and UVA.
In 1979, John moved to California where he reached the top of his field, serving as an instructor at UCLA, as Director of the Robinson Gardens for the County of Los Angeles, and as a member of the Commission of Architecture for the City of Beverly Hills.
John loved the California lifestyle. He was an avid surfer, enjoyed great concerts and art shows, and loved going to swap meets on weekends. His pride and joy was his Morrocan revival home in Silver Lake, which he completely redesigned, remodeled, and decorated. This remarkable house is featured in a number of books and magazines.
Although John loved California, Norfolk drew him as it does many, and he moved home in 2000. He devoted himself to caring for his aging parents, Mabel Perry Copeland and Samuel German Copeland. He also reconnected with many old friends including Beth Boone Copeland whom he first met in the 70’s. They fell in love, and they enjoyed a fifteen-year marriage.
John was a rare breed, a genuine Renaissance man. He had incredibly varied interests including but not limited to surfing, health and wellness, photography, animals, pop culture, art, history, politics, botany, home repairs, interior design, and so on. He was interested and therefore interesting.
John was energetic, loving, very cool, witty, vain in an endearing way, a collector of many things from dictionaries to sneakers. Those who met John casually felt they’d known this charming and charismatic man for years. He put people at ease. Many people felt they knew John very well, but only a select, very fortunate group really did.
John adored Chows. He adopted a few of these wonderful canines over the years, and is survived by his English Chow Loey who misses her Dad.
John is predeceased by his parents, Samuel German Copeland and Mabel Perry Copeland. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Boone Copeland, step-daughters Martha Armstrong and Christine Armstrong Fuller as well as his brother Robert Copeland all of Norfolk.
John would want to be remembered as very handsome, capable, fun, funny, a good friend, and an even better dog owner. He will be mourned and his life celebrated by his family and his many friends.
It would have pleased John to see contributions made to your local animal shelter in his honor.