Mama Lena’s favorite grandchild waved good-by on Sunday, April 22, 2012, surrounded by his family. Charles Phillip Copeland was born the third of six children to C. Ray and Ruby Copeland on July 6, 1952. Phil lived most of his 59 years in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He graduated from Tullahoma High School in 1970, and then attended UT Knoxville. He also graduated from the LSU School of Banking.
He began his banking career at Union Planters in Memphis, and then began working for Traders National Bank in 1975. He worked there for nearly 37 years until his retirement for his recent illness. He started as a Teller and ended as the Chief Financial Officer, as well as a member of the Board of Directors. Phil had a great fondness for his fellow employees and customers. He was well known for speaking in a verbal shorthand and giving his co-workers nicknames, like “Crazy”, “Chipper”, “Spot”, “Dirt”, and generally keeping everyone off guard with his quick, wry sense of humor.
For several years, Phil donned his fireproof coveralls and helped set off the Fourth of July fireworks. He was a long time member of the Highland Rim Kiwanis Club and a past President of the Lakewood Country Club. He was also lifelong President of the Tullahoma Telescope Club.
On a date arranged by her future sister-in-law, Kim, in 1997, Phil met his soul mate, Bettie Vaughan. They married on October 26, 2003. Together they built a beautiful home and enjoyed their shared passion for life, which included travel, cooking, wine, art, and family. Phil and Bettie also share several grandchildren who call them “Bill” and “Gobbie”.
In addition to his parents, Phil was predeceased by grandparents, James and Pearl (Waggoner) Copeland of Moore County, Charles and Lena Mae “Mama Lena” (Richards) Weddington of Tullahoma, special grandmother, Ann Lou Woodside Martin of Tullahoma, and a dear sister-in-law, Jennifer (Kyle) Copeland of Tullahoma.
He is survived by wife, Bettie, daughter Katy Copeland Harden (Tim), grandson and namesake Charlie, stepdaughter Rachel Pierce (Daryl McGee) of Tullahoma, and stepson Ted Pierce (Wendy) of Lynchburg, and step-grandchildren, Tony, Austin, Liza, Leyla, Isiah, McKenzie, Rayel and Colin.
Siblings who will miss their brother and cherish his memory are Claudia (Michael) Vaden of Franklin County, Tom (Karen) Copeland, Kyle Copeland, Kim (Clay) Uselton, and Scott Copeland, all of Tullahoma, Tennessee. He also leaves many dear nieces and nephews: Dylan, Annie, Rachel, Emma, Anna Claire, Stewart, Will, Jack, and Sam.
Phil’s sense of humor stayed with him to the very end. A few days ago one of the children made a video of him and he was waiving to the camera from his bed. Later on that night, everyone was gathered by his bedside, Phil was in good spirits, making everyone laugh, and Bettie mused: “What will we do without our “Bill”? Phil said: “Just rewind that camera and I’ll be waving at you”.
Memorial donations are suggested to the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation.
Kilgore Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.