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Busy mom made time to serve others

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By Jerry Vondas
Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 9:16 p.m.

Geraldine Copeland's family and friends regarded her as a proper lady, who devoted her life in the service of others.

As the daughter of a minister and the wife of Raymond Copeland, a funeral director committed to helping families during dark periods, Mrs. Copeland espoused the meaning of humanitarianism.

Geraldine Anna Larabee Copeland of Coraopolis died on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, at Heritage Valley Sewickley. She was 87.

“And as busy as our mother was helping our father, she made time to participate in her children's activities and to commit herself to the Coraopolis United Methodist Church, where she visited shut-ins and was involved with Meals on Wheels,” said her daughter, Carin Copeland of San Diego.

Copeland said her mother's commitment to the funeral home ran deep, making herself available to meet the needs of grieving families, handling flower arrangements, even making time to wash the linen for their ambulance service.

Mrs. Copeland was born in Auburn, N.Y., and raised in Ambridge, one of four children of the Rev. Leland Henry and Jessie Henrietta Dean Larabee.

She conquered challenges and for a lifetime drew on her parents' wisdom, her daughter said.

“My mother was never impeded by multiple sclerosis and she never forgot her parents' anecdotes, which included solving problems more than one way.”

After graduation from Ambridge High School in 1943, Mrs. Copeland attended Sewickley Valley Hospital School of Nursing, where she graduated as a registered nurse who specialized in home care.

In 1948, she married Raymond Dixon Copeland, who worked for the Irvine Funeral Home in Sewickley. Later, he opened Copeland's in Coraopolis.

In addition to her husband, Raymond, and daughter Carin, Mrs. Copeland is survived by her children, Jessica Volante and Thomas T. Copeland, both of Moon; a sister, Clarissa Anderson of Coraopolis; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by her brothers, Dean and David Larabee.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Copeland's Coraopolis, 867 Fifth Ave.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday in Coraopolis United Methodist Church, 1205 Ridge Ave. Burial will be private in Sewickley Cemetery.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or

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