On March 26, 2019, Morgan Lee Copeland, left this world and was reunited with Pat, his wife of 52 years, his mother and father, and a host of relatives and friends who outran him to the Father’s house. He was a wonderful son, devoted husband, much-loved father, and good friend, who left a legacy of love, service, and faithfulness. His life was marked by integrity and determination. He liked to have fun, had a great sense of humor, and was always ready with a quip or tease. Despite the challenges of his last years, he never lost his sense of humor, and continued to surprise and entertain his family and caregivers with his wry comments. Morgan was born on September 8, 1927 and was raised in the small West Texas farming community of Brownfield. He was proud of and grateful for his small town heritage, and cherished the tight-knit circle of friends and family who provided support and fellowship. As a descendant of early day settlers in Terry County, he enthusiastically recounted first-hand accounts of encounters with Comanches and of the rigors of frontier life that were passed on to him. Tragically, his father passed away when he was only three, a seminal event with a lifelong impact. Buoyed by his beloved mother’s unwavering love and support, he demonstrated dogged determination and resilience, excelling in school and his many endeavors. After graduating from Brownfield High School, he attended the University of Texas at Austin. He supremely enjoyed his time at The University (as he referred to it) and became an ardent and passionate supporter of Texas Longhorn football. In later years, he and Pat enjoyed holding season tickets, attending untold numbers of games (including attending virtually every game over the four year span that included Morgan, Jr.’s playing days for the Horns), and took many memorable trips. His college years were interrupted by a stint in the Army. In 1946, he was drafted and served 18 months before being discharged and returning to school. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, he was admitted to the University of Texas School of Law, and graduated in 1952. Most importantly, during his undergraduate years, he met Patricia Sammons of Fort Worth, who was the unparalleled love of his life. They married in 1952, and moved back to Brownfield. She taught elementary school, and he joined a law firm. Later, he served as Terry County Attorney and as District Attorney of the 106th and 121st Judicial Districts (which comprised three counties at the time). During their time in Brownfield, they were blessed with two children, Morgan, Jr. and Marcie. Morgan was an exemplary father who gave them the gifts of time, a love of reading, and a spirit of adventure and exploration. There were trips to the Fort Worth Zoo, Six Flags Over Texas, hiking in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and that most special and rare treat, University of Texas football games. He supported them in all of their endeavors, including assisting with school work, attending sporting events, and most of all providing unconditional love and support. Marcie and Morgan were always assured that their best was more than enough. In 1963, he joined the Gulf Oil Law Department in Midland, and was later transferred to Houston. He remained with Gulf until approximately 1982, when he joined the law firm of Scott, Douglass & Luton as a partner, and retired from the practice of law at the age of 69. He enjoyed practicing law, especially his years as an oil and gas lawyer. His faith in the Lord Jesus Christ was his rock and defined him in many ways. He enjoyed serving as an usher at St. Luke’s Methodist Church for many years, and volunteered regularly at the Christian Community Service Center. He and Pat enjoyed spending time at their vacation home on the Blanco River in Wimberley, traveling the world, playing with their grandchildren, and cheering on their beloved Longhorns. He loved to read, was a history buff, and despite the unavailing protests from his children, never failed to stop at a historical marker on the highway. Papa, as he was known to his five grandchildren, Grant, Read, Nell, Kate, and Carson, was much loved and always ready to swim, swing, run, and roughhouse at a moment’s notice. He was full of love and fun, and adored all of them. Pat passed away in 2013. Since then, he has missed her on a daily basis, often pointing to her portrait and exclaiming, “Look at that pretty girl !”.
Morgan is survived by his daughter, Marcie Hortenstine, son-in-law, Jim Hortenstine, son, Morgan Copeland, daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Swift Copeland, and grandchildren, Grant Hortenstine and wife, Madeline, Nell Copeland, Kate Copeland, and Carson Copeland.
The family wishes to recognize the dedicated, conscientious, and selfless efforts of his many caregivers, including especially Robyn Jones and Tennille Smith, and many others who looked after him so well during those most difficult years.
A memorial service, in celebration of his life, is to be conducted at 11 am on Friday the 5th of April in the chapel at St. Luke’s Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Road, in Houston, where Rev. Bill Denham, Pastor of Caring Ministries, is to officiate. In lieu of customary remembrances or flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to The Bluebird Circle, Covenant House, or St. Luke’s United Methodist Church of Houston.
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