Cover photo for Stanley Copley's Obituary
Stanley Copley Profile Photo
1921 Stanley 2010

Stanley Copley

July 1, 1921 — September 30, 2010

Stanley Julian Copley, youngest son of Claude W. and Mary Nissen Copley was born on July 1, 1921, in the family home at the foot of Lookout Mountain five miles southeast of Franklin, NE. He attended the one-room Blake District 62 country school and graduated from Franklin High School in 1939. He graduated from the Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney in May, 1943, and immediately entered the United States Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

He served in the Navy until 1946 and participated in the Normandy D-Day Allied Invasion at the Omaha Beach off Vierville, France, and later in the Pacific theatre "Made Smoke" off Okinawa Island. After teaching at Herndon, Kansas, for the 1946-47 school term, he entered the University of Nebraska graduate college and received a Masters Degree, primarily in European history. On September 4, 1948, he married May Thompson Bush in the Reverend and Mrs. Sargent Bush home in Lincoln. In 1949 they moved to Harvey, Illinois, where Stanley taught at the Thorton Township High School until 1954.

At Harvey their three daughters, Jane Dunham, Sarah Bush, and Julia Hammond were born. In 1954 they returned to Franklin, Nebraska, where Stanley taught in the high school and started their foundation cattle herd. From 1959 until 1973 Stanley taught European history at Hastings Senior High School. In 1964 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a summer of travel and study at the Institute d'etude Politique in Paris. In 1968 the Mu Epsilon Nu, educational fraternity, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, named him "Outstanding Male Teacher of the Year."

In 1973 he and May moved to the hills south of Franklin to raise cattle fulltime. He regarded the return of all their Franklin farmland to grass (with the generous help of the U.S. government) one of his greatest achievements. Stanley accepted the claims and challenge of the Christian Gospel early in life.

As a youth and young man, he belonged to the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church and later to the Presbyterian Church where he was an ordained deacon and elder. Stanley was fortunate in life: good health, good public school education, and a wife and family who made possible his secure, enjoyable, love-filled adulthood. He enjoyed his mind, thrived on serious discussion and reading, and appreciated a well-crafted sentence.

He found his students a great joy and European history always interesting. He witnessed the 1935 Republican River flood, endured the drought and dust storms of the 1930's, remembered going to church in a horse-drawn buggy, and, with other Americans experienced the "Great Depression," WWII, and, via television, the moon landing.

He is survived by his wife, May; daughters Jane and her husband Randall Holveck of Madison, Wisconsin; Sarah Bartlett of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Julia and Ronald Thomsen of Minden, Nebraska; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandsons and one great-granddaughter.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers (Melvin, Acel, Harold, and Paul) who died in early childhood, and brother, Elton who died in 1975 and Christian who died in 1992.

Graveside services will be at 10:00AM Monday, October 4, 2010 at Greenwood Cemetery with Rev. Herman Keen officiating. Burial will follow services. There will be a memorial service for Stanley at the First Presbyterian Church in Hastings, Nebraska at 2:00PM, Monday October 4, 2010 with Rev. Bill Nottage-Tacey officiating. Visitation will be from 1PM to 8PM Sunday, October 3, 2010 at Hutchins Funeral Home.

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