Some people knew him as Dr. Copeland, others as Herb, Grandpa Herb, or Dad. To me he always was, and always will be, Pepa. He passed away this morning at 87 years old after what has been at least a 6 year battle with ALS.
Pepa was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, one of three children of Yetta and Herb Copeland, Sr, who were both from Odessa, Ukraine. He went on to serve in the army and start his own radiology practice at Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore. With his first wife Myra, he had two children: my mom and my Uncle Jack. After Myra passed away, he married Elaine Rogers, or my grandmother, Me-ma, who would fall ill with lung cancer and died in 1994. Pe-pa married Jeanne a few years later, and I do not recall ever seeing him as happy as he was at that time.
Playing catch in the backyard, appreciating a rare steak, going on a drive in his latest luxury car of choice (he gave me his old Lexus 3 years ago), and a fridge stocked with his favored Coors Light, are just a few of the things I will always remember fondly about Pepa. That and the sweet, easy-going, gentle manner he had of dealing with anyone who knew him.
I will repeat here what I told my grandfather, after saying goodbye to him for the last time this past July 4th holiday: Goodbye Pepa, I love you.