Gary Conrad Copeland

April 12, 1947-June 13, 2024


Gary Conrad Copeland, 77, of Sparta, passed away June 13, 2024, in the emergency room of Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital, in Sparta.

Gary was born April 12, 1947, in the Yankeetown community of White County, to Bailey Larimore and Daisy Frances Milligan Copeland   He graduated from White County High School. While at WCHS, he was a member of the 1964 Jaycee Bowl football championship team, playing left tackle. He enlisted in the United States Army and served during the Vietnam War. While in the Army, he earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Overseas Service Bar. After the military, Gary was a member of the Sparta/White County Rescue Squad and worked as a tool and die maker at Mallory Timers, retiring at its closure. He was also a member of Cherry Creek Church of Christ.

Gary married Wilma Simmons, and together they raised two daughters, Dana and Kristy. He was a devoted father who encouraged his daughters to pursue higher education, always supporting their endeavors.

Gary was known for his love of the outdoors, and he could be found either in the woods hunting deer or turkey or on the water fishing for bass, walleye, or anything else that would bite on his line.

After retiring, he planted gardens, raised cows, and tended bees, leaving a memorable impression on his neighbors with his spirited conversations with anything in the fields. He was straightforward and honest, never shy to speak his mind, and everyone knew where they stood with him. He cherished his grandchildren, who affectionately knew him as Pa Copeland.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Lynn and Glynn Copeland; and niece, Gail Copeland.

He is survived by his wife, Wilma; daughters and sons-in-law, Dana and Michael II Baker, Kristy and Christopher Wilson; grandchildren, Alexis Hatmaker, Michael Baker III, Kaden Hatmaker, Gunnar Baker, Ryker Baker; brother, Keith Copeland; and several nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved, and they loved him.

Funeral service was 11 a.m., June 18, 2024, at Hunter Funeral Home, with Carl Sims officiated.  Burial in Copeland Chapel Cemetery, with full military honors by the Veterans’ Honor Guard, followed the service

Pallbearers include his grandsons; nephews, Brent and Terry Copeland; grandson-in-law, Dawson Frey; and sons-in-law.

Memorial donations can be sent to Cherry Creek Church of Christ and the White County High School Fishing Club in memory of Gary and in care of Hunter Funeral Home, P.O. Box 90, Sparta, Tennessee 38583.

Hunter Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.