James Norris Copelan

November 14, 1929 ~ January 7, 2017 (age 87)

James Norris Copelan

James Norris Copelan of Martinez, GA, died January 7, 2017 at the age of 87 at Lanier Lodge Assisted Living in Gainesville, GA. Born in Greensboro, GA on November 14, 1929, he was the son of the late Leo Warner Copelan and Leila Yearwood Copelan both of Greene County, GA.  Norris graduated from Greensboro High School in 1948 where he played football.  After high school, he joined the United States Navy and proudly served his country during the Korean War from 1948 to 1952.  While serving he received numerous medals: the  United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Navy Medal, Korean Service Medal and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon. On May 17, 1953, Norris married the former Hazel Gentry in Gainesville, GA.  His 40 year working career was spent with Georgia Power working in the Meter Department and retiring in 1992. He was an ardent booster of the Boy Scouts of America and served as a troop committeeman of Boy Scout Troup 119 in Martinez, GA.  While living in Greensboro, he attended Walker United Methodist Church, where he served as Sunday School Superintendent and later became a member of Liberty United Methodist Church.  After moving away he attended Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church in Evans, GA.  His hobbies included reading Louis L’Amour western books and watching John Wayne movies.  His greatest enjoyment came when he was surrounded by family and spending time with his two grandsons.  Everybody loved Norris and he will truly be missed.

In addition to his wife, Hazel Gentry Copelan of Gainesville, GA, he is survived by his children, Robert Copelan and wife Gabriele of Flowery Branch, GA and Jan Hallman and husband David of Greensboro, GA; grandchildren, Josh Holliday of Richmond, KY and Robert Holliday of Greensboro, GA; plus numerous nephews, nieces, and many, many friends.  He was preceded in death by all of his siblings, John Hamilton Copelan, Marvin Copelan, Mildred Hunt, Nonie Callahan, Jessie Marion Gilpin and Beatrice McNorrill.
Graveside Services with military honors will be held Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Greenview Cemetery with Rev. Farrett Boswell and Rev. Bruce Lovin officiating.  Serving as pallbearers are Robert Holliday, Charlie Merritt, Henry Pruett, Ray Foster, Geoff Barnes, Dan Jernigan, and Phillip Akins.  Honorary pallbearers are Wayne Usry, Stanley Sorrells and Tony Merritt.  The family will receive friends Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. until time for the service at McCommons Funeral Home.   Flowers accepted or memorials may be made to Pruitt Cares Foundation, 1623 Jeurgens Ct., Norcross, GA 30093.  You can also make donations online at  McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at to sign the online guest register.


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