Eulogy for Paul Cope
March 31, 2023
by John Partridge
(Note: You can find the live stream of this memorial service here: https://youtube.com/live/X8K5O0xwOwY?feature=share )
Paul Cope was born in Alliance, Ohio on August 31st, 1926, to Paul and Mabel Cope. He graduated from Alliance High School, and although he was not mechanically inclined, started driving a city bus in Alliance when he was only 16 years old. Paul served in the Navy for two and a half years during World War II, first at the Great Lakes Naval Station, our nation’s largest Navy base, and the basic training facility for every sailor we’ve trained since 1911 and then was stationed not far away at the Glenview Naval Air Station outside Chicago, which, until 1995 was a naval aircraft training facility. Paul eventually rose to the rank of Seaman First Class. After the war, Paul got back to work. He was married to Kathryn and then widowed with two children when she died suddenly at the age of 24. Not long after that, Paul met Shirley at her place of employment, which was possibly the electric company. Shirley said that her first impression of Paul, was that his ears made him look “like a taxicab with both doors open.” That may not be the most positive first impression, but they were married in September of 1951. Shirley immediately took over the care of Paul’s children, who were then 3 and 5, and eight or nine months later, added Cindi.
Paul was always busy. As the president of Cope Furniture, Paul consistently worked 12 hours a day, every day, except Sunday, where you can be sure that you’d find him at Christ Church. And, after church, you would find him having a Sunday lunch with his grandparents followed by a game of UNO. That tradition of making Sunday a family day still runs in the family because of Paul’s inspiration and guidance, but with everyone’s busy schedules, it’s gotten harder to do.
In the few years that I’ve known him, I knew that Paul was kind of quiet guy, but his family told me that he’s never really talked much because Shirley always did it for him. One day last year, Paul surprised Cindi and Andy when the normally quiet Paul suddenly announced from the backseat, “You know, men and women don’t think alike.” No one is sure what inspired such an announcement, but clearly, he was thinking about something profound. Paul was always a bit of a ladies’ man, and although he settled down and was faithful to one woman, he still liked to look at pretty girls and did not apologize for it.
As a family, they often went camping in the summer or they went to Florida together. Amy remembers spending Spring Break with her grandparents at Jensen Beach in Florida and Paul could almost always be found relaxing during the popular neighborhood cocktail hour holding a martini with one green olive. At home, despite Shirley being unable to swim, Paul had a boat and often took the whole family water-skiing on Berlin Lake. At one time, Paul also had an automatic shift motorcycle with matching gold helmets for he and Shirley. I’m told that, whenever Paul wanted something, he would pursue it, relentlessly, until Shirley, or Cindi, or whomever, gave in and he got it. This is how he got his motorcycle, his motor-home, his boat, new cars, assorted toys, and even a leaf blower when he already lived at Copeland Oaks that has its own groundskeepers.
There is also the story of Paul’s riding lawn mower. Paul liked mowing his yard, I think, but one day, before the advent of safety interlocks, he got off of his mower to pick up some sticks, with the mower still running, and managed to mow a toe or two. With blood streaming from his foot, Paul calmly walked into the kitchen and, Cindi tells me, this image of her father is why, to this day, that she does not care for the sight of blood.
Paul was always a part of his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren’s lives. When Shirley worked at Cutty’s Paul changed diapers and babysat his great-grandchildren. The funny thing is, that before his grandchildren were born, and maybe before his great-grandchildren were born, Paul had never one changed a diaper. And so, on his first try, and Cindi never quite figured out how, while he got it on, it was on completely backwards. Paul was supportive of his family at every activity that he could and he had season tickets to their football games just so that he could watch the band at half-time at all the home games.
In the last few months there were many changes to Paul’s life. He wasn’t too happy about giving up his car and despite the explicit orders of his doctor, he complained about it and insisted that we go ask Bobbi Wright because, Paul said, “She will tell you that I’m a good driver.” And, shortly before this most recent decline, Craig asked Paul if he was okay with moving from his villa to an apartment in the assisted living building. Paul answered that he knew that it was coming, and probably should have happened sooner.
In the end, Paul was a man who loved his life, who lived it well, and had fun doing it. He loved his family and would do almost anything for them. He knew what he wanted, he worked hard at whatever he did, and was faithful to his wife, to his family, to his friends, to his Jesus, and to his church. The old joke is that you should live your life so that the preacher doesn’t have to lie at your funeral, and Paul Cope did that and more. We often say that the mission of the church is to change the world, and if those of us who remember Paul can live our lives as faithfully as he lived his, we will do exactly that. Paul Cope was just one man, he could not change the world by himself, but he definitely changed his corner of it and made the world a better place for everyone who knew him.
Memories of my Dad
(by Marsha Miller)
My Dad was one of a kind! Without him and Mom, I would be what I am today.
They took very good care of me, Cindi, and Howard. They taught us how to be obedient to everyone, no matter what. They taught us how to respect and treat everyone as we wanted to be treated!
We always had food on the table to eat and you had better eat it or go hungry! Mom always made sure we not only had clean clothes to wear and that we had clothes to wear.
Dad was a great grandfather and a great great-grandfather. The all loved him very much.
Paul R. Cope
“A Sweet and Gentle Spirit”
March 31, 2023
by Rev. L. Chris Martin
Dear friends in Christ:
We gather here in this sacred and familiar place to worship the God of the ages in loving memory of Paul R. Cope. As I have thought about Paul’s life since his passing into eternal life a little over two weeks ago, I realize that what stands out as most memorable about this kindhearted and considerate man, over the fourteen years I have known him, was his sweet and gentle spirit. Paul was almost always the first person to arrive for the Searcher’s Class, the adult class I have been privileged to teach for the past twelve years. Paul was a man of few words so that when he did have something to say, we all listened. It was a true delight to share the classroom with him.
Paul was a reliable and predictable sort of guy, the kind of person one could count on to do whatever he agreed to do and to follow through on whatever responsibility he knew was his. Having served as a Seaman First Class in the United States Navy in World War II surely helped to teach Paul the need of completing the tasks before him in an efficient and reliable manner. It was a lesson that he never forgot through his long and fruitful life.
Paul had been married to the love of his life, Shirley, for 59 years at the time of her passing in March of two-thousand eleven. Shirley was so full of life, living each moment of each day fully, and loving and caring for every member of her family in ways that cause the precious memories they have of her to this day. Paul’s memories of the years of their married life sustained him through the last twelve years of his life where Paul lived each day remembering the happiness of the years he spent with his beloved Shirley. Paul thoroughly enjoyed his two daughters and their extended families, and his son, Paul Howard, who preceded him into eternal life.
In addition to what I have shared to this point about Paul and the life he lived, Paul was also a treasured child of God, loved by God with an unconditional love. Just a few days before he passed into eternal life, Paul said to me while he was hospitalized in Alliance, “I really don’t understand why I am here, I’m not sick.” That was a day that Paul seemed to rally, after which his health began to fail. I am convinced beyond any doubt that Paul realized in those last few days of his life that it was time to go home to God, where he could be reunited with his treasured Shirley and the others that preceded him into eternal life.
One of the songs that sustained Paul and the members of his family in recent days was a song first written by John Newton in 1779. The song is “Amazing Grace.” In 2006, Chris Tomlin wrote an addition to the original song. After the second verse, that reads: “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” Tomlin added these words: “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, My God, My Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood his mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace.”
The last verse reads: “The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine. But God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.” To this verse, Paul would add: “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood his mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace.” Paul now lives for all eternity, wrapped in unending love and amazing grace. But his sweet and gentle spirit lives on in our memories.
Obituary for Paul R. Cope
August 31, 1926 – March 15, 2023 (age 96)
Paul R. Cope, age 96, passed away on March 15, 2023.
He was born on August 31, 1926, in Alliance, to Paul W. and Mabel (Roath) Cope.
Paul graduated from Alliance High School in 1944. He was the owner and President of the former Cope Furniture. Paul served honorably in the United States Navy as a Seaman First Class in WWII.
Paul was a member of Christ United Methodist Church where he was in the Hallelujah Bell Choir, the church choir and was a member of Searchers Sunday School Class. He also helped make peanut brittle at the church for many years and was a Boy Scout Master of Troop 50 for three years. Paul was a former member of Alliance Rotary Club, Washington Ruritans and BPOE #467.
Those left to cherish his memory are his daughters, Marsha Miller of Arizona, and Cindy (Andy) Magda of Alliance; nine grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchildren; a sister, Patricia Ludwig; and two nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Shirley G. Cope, whom he married September 16, 1951, and who passed on March 12, 2011; and his son, Paul Howard.
A celebration of life will be held at Christ United Methodist Church on Friday, March 31st at 11:00 a.m. with a visitation one hour prior. The service will be co-officiated by Pastors John Partridge and Chris Martin.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Christ United Methodist Church Music Department, 470 E Broadway St. Alliance, Ohio 44601, or the Copeland Oaks Foundation, 715 S. Johnson Rd., Sebring, Ohio 44672.
Arrangements are entrusted to Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home 75 South Union Ave Alliance, Ohio 44601.