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Eugene "Gene" Leroy Copeland

March 5, 1939 ~ June 10, 2018 (age 79)

Eugene “Gene” Leroy Copeland, age 79 of Fairfield, passed away June 10, 2018, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Visitation for family and friends will be 5-7 p.m., Friday, June 15, 2018, at First United Methodist Church.

Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 16, 2018, at First United Methodist Church with Reverend Beth Harbaugh and Pastor Mike Metz officiating.  Burial with Military Honors will be at Evergreen Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the American Stroke Association, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago IL 60674 (in memo write, Gene Copeland for stroke research).  Cards and memorials may be mailed to 1520 Hwy #1 North, Fairfield, IA 52556.

A true, humble human being, thankful, grateful for anything anyone ever did for him, he was born March 5, 1939, in Fairfield, Iowa, to Leroy and Helen (Palmer) Copeland.  Gene, as he was known to all, had an immense impact on perpetuity in donations on display at the Carnegie Historical Museum and the Fairfield Art Association.  Other philanthropic donations were made to Denver General Hospital, The Copeland Collection of the Auraria Library, and even the Fairfield Library contains his contribution of “The Copeland-Rider Families of Jefferson County.”  His entire life was given in service.

Educated at Fairfield High School 1957, with honors; Parsons College, 1961 with honors; and University of Iowa College of Law, 1965 with a Juris Doctor with Distinction. A Fulbright scholar, member of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Who’s Who in America.  Gene played in the high school band and played the trombone, sang in the choir, participated in intercollegiate debate, wrote for the college newspaper, etc.  He served for seven years in the Iowa National Guard and played the baritone in the 34th Infantry Division Band. 

Gene was on the Board of Editors, Iowa Law Review from 1964-1965.  He was admitted to the Colorado and Iowa bars in 1965, and the Supreme Court of the United States Court bar in 1966.  Gene went to Denver and opened his own practice from 1965-1966.  In 1966 he was elected Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Security Life of Denver.  In 1986 he was elected Chief Counsel of what became the largest insurance corporation in the world, ING.

Gene was a lecturer, speaker at legal and industry conventions, seminars and meetings.  One of his speaking engagements was for the National Association of Realtors Trilateral agreement between US, China, and South Korea Realtors.  A prolific writer, he authored numerous legal publications even to include Law Review on Iowa water pollution laws.

Throughout Gene’s life he served on various boards and committees, including:  ING,  7th largest company in the world as General Counsel.  Vice Chairman of Denver General Hospital – Colorado Safety – Net Hospital, which was one of the top 10 academic hospitals and top 10 most innovative hospitals.  Colorado State Ethics Board, Cameron Methodist (Denver), Board of Editors Iowa Law Review, University of Colorado Medical School, Denver Library Commission, Colorado Railroad Club, Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, The Center for Tax and Policy University of Denver, Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute, and the Guild for Sacred Studies.  Gene served 12 years on the Denver Public Library Commission, which rebuilt the Denver library system and built the new Central Library. Upon opening, it hosted the G-7 summit heads of state where he met President Clinton. He was an advisor for the University of Peking (Beijing) Law School and University of Denver College of Business Administration.  Let us never overlook his constant press to improve education.

A member of Colorado Public Expenditures Council board of directors since 1988, Buffalo Mountain Metropolitan District, Summit County, Colorado, Friends Foundation of Denver Public Library, Denver Public Library, American Bar Association, Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, Iowa Bar Association, Association Life Insurance Council, American Council Life Insurance (state vice president 1973-1983, Legislation Committee, Reinsurance Committee, Policyholder Tax Committee, Litigation Committee), Colorado Life Convention (president 1988-1990, vice president 1987-1988, legislation chairman 1973-1986), Colorado Association Corporation Counsel, Denver Estate Planning Council, Colorado Association Life Underwriters (coauthor Learning Guide 1978), and Law Club, Denver. In Fairfield he was a member of Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge and Sac & Fox Lapidary Club.

“Gene Copeland Day” was declared March 1, 2000, by Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, which included a parade and keys to the city. 

Some of Gene’s interests were fine arts, cross-country skiing, classical music, visiting the sick and elderly at various facilities, and traveling around the world.  He looked forward to spending time with his cousins.  He would gather at restaurants with family and friends, catching up on what was going on in all their lives.  Gene enjoyed studying his family genealogy, finding family antique heirlooms and sharing some with family. 

Left to share Gene’s memories are many cousins on his mother and father’s sides; and many good friends in Fairfield, Colorado, and all over the world.  He also leaves behind his beloved cats, Fred and Mika.

Online condolences can be made to the family at

To say Gene was an accomplished human being is quite the understatement, and now he goes to his eternal reward to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  Amen.  



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