Ronald Hansel Copeland, age 80, of Beaver Falls, PA, died on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. He was born in Virginia Beach, VA on December 16, 1942 and is the son of the late Randolph Hansel and Catherine Camilla Rice Copeland. He was the husband of the late Catherine J. Hengler Copeland, who died on November 9, 2020.
Having grown up on the Chesapeake Bay, Ron was a natural for the Air Force and so he enlisted in 1963, during the Vietnam War. During his time in the service, he reached the rank of Technical Sergeant and became an air traffic controller. At the time of his honorable discharge in 1971, he joined the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller. In 1981, he joined his fellow PATCO union members in striking for which he was fired by President Reagan. He went from airborne logistics to ground. He worked for Merchants, a company that provided delivery for furniture and appliance stores. Give Ron a map and items that need to move from point A to B and he was your man, whether it was human beings or a new sofa, he was committed to safe transport. In 1995, he took a position teaching air traffic control at the Community College of Beaver County, which he loved as he found it particularly rewarding to matriculate with young blood. Turns out Ron was a workaholic – when he retired from teaching, he took his final and favorite position, tour bus driver, for McCarters Coach and Tour.
He loved the routing of trips, meeting new people, and the bus itself. Lest you think Ron just loved to work, he also loved his family especially his wife of 54 years, Catherine, word games, big fan of Scrabble and the daily crossword puzzle, and in his prime, racquetball.
Ron is survived by his children, R. Hansel Copeland of Morgantown, WV; Andrea J. Copeland (Thomas McDowell) of Indianapolis, IN; granddaughter, Carissa Hilscher; great grandchildren, Aubrey Hilscher; Noah Hilscher; siblings, Roger (Vicki) Copeland of Forest, VA; Gerald (Marilyn) Copeland of San Diego, CA; Irene Upshur of Chester Gap, VA; Gaynelle (Scott) Ayers of Virginia Beach, VA; sister-in-law, Carolyn Copeland; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents and spouse, Ronald was preceded in death by his brother, John Copeland.
Family and friends will gather on Monday, October 23, 2023 from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at Campbell’s Chippewa Funeral Home, Inc., 2618 Darlington Road, Chippewa Twp., PA 15010 (Randy R. Wheeler, supervisor, 724-843-2500). A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Noon at Saint Augustine Parish, Saint Monica Church, 116 Thorndale Drive, Beaver Falls, PA 15010. Family and friends will meet on Friday, October 27, 2023 at 2:30 p.m. for a military burial at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, 1158 Morgan Road, Bridgeville, PA 15017.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions in Ron’s name may be made to your local fire department, or the one he volunteered for the Ocean Park Volunteer Rescue Squad, 3769 E Stratford Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23455, www.opvrs.com/donate.html, or the Chippewa Township Volunteer Fire Department, 2568 Darlington Road, Chippewa Twp., PA 15010, www.chippewafire.org
To share a memory or condolence, please visit www.campbellfuneralhomes.com