Rory J. Copeland entered this life in 1956, spending most of his early years in the Bitterroot Valley. Billings was his home in high school. He played football for a short time, was also a member of the wrestling team, first met Kim (his future wife), and graduated in 1974. He then ventured on to the Air Force where he obtained an education in electronics from 1974-1978.
With the training received in the Air Force, the electronic field was his occupation for many years, followed by computer repair. It required a lot of travel, which got a bit old. So, he moved on to dirt work and crushed asphalt laying. Many of the homes in the Helena area were enhanced by the work performed by Copeland Skid Steer!
He loved the outdoors, and thoroughly enjoyed hunting, fishing, horseback riding and snowmobiling. He was great at sharing this with his friends. Rory was an elk guide for Upper Canyon Outfitters for 20 years and enjoyed telling stories of his many experiences with the hunters he guided, as well as anyone else that would lend an ear. There were not too many things that Rory was afraid to tackle, besides the dentist. Whether it be trail blazing or fixing something that was broken, he could take it on! He liked a challenge and was persistent in seeing a project to its completion.
Rory was quick to lend a hand. He gave many years to the Montana City Volunteer Fire Department. He would not hesitate to stop and help someone fix a flat tire, get their sled unstuck, or to get their elk down the mountain. His efforts were mostly successful, but there were certainly some fun hijinks along the way. I am sure many of you reading this can remember a few of those good times.
Rory shared his time with horses, dogs and cats. They were an important and meaningful part of his life.
He was a great cook, second to Kim of course. Rory always understood the value of getting folks together around the dining room table. His chicken noodle soup and smoked brisket were favorites. Rory also liked to brag about his ability to eat spicy horseradish straight up, which was a nice challenge to liven up family events.
Like many a cowboy, he enjoyed a good Western. But also loved a love story, “Always” and “Ghost” were top of the list. This certainly makes sense if you ever saw him with Kim, his love and devotion to her was undeniable.
Survivors include his wife, Kim; stepdaughter, Trishalana Smith (Pat) and grandsons, Milo and Addi of Olympia, Washington; daughters, Tracy Steele (Tony) and their children, Takoda and Thane of Blackfoot, Idaho and Melissa Clifton (Randy) and children Dustin and Kaylee; brother, Russ Copeland; and mother, Donna Copeland of Corvallis; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place according to Rory’s wishes and a memorial service will be held at the family home sometime this coming spring.
Our heartfelt thanks to the Oncology Center at the Bozeman Cancer Center, especially Dr. Justin Thomas and the staff at St. Peter’s hospice for all their help and support during the past 9 years.
Rory brightened many lives and will be missed greatly.