By Megan Bristow
The Duncan Banner
“You can just never have too many lights,” Bobby Copeland said.
That is the spirit that Copeland, a Duncan native, has decorated his yard with each Christmas for almost every year since 1967. At the time he began his tradition, Copeland was living in Navy housing. When he decorated that first year, Copeland said he won the award for having the best decorated house on base — NAS Whidbey Island.
“We won the contest in 1967,” Copeland said. “That spurred me on.” He wond again at NAF Warminster.
With the exception of a few years, Copeland has decorated his yard every year since then. Copeland said his decorations usually go up shortly after Thanksgiving but he said he started before Thanksgiving this year because of a period of nice weather.
“I enjoy it very much,” he said. “It is the best part of the year.”
Copeland said he believes that if people could share the feeling that his lights give him, it could change the world we live in.
“If people and the nation could feel that way year round, it would be a great,” he said. “It would be a different place.”
His decorated, lit yard at 1103 W. Washington Ave., has becoming something enjoyed by his family and also by the community as he sees many people stop and gaze upon the Christmas scene.
“I feel a sense of pride that they stop and think it is worth looking at,” he said. “I think people appreciate people trying to make it look prettier and more Christmasy.”
Some of the decorations in his yard date back to his first Christmas that he decorated while others he has added to the collection or picked up at garage sales.
“I go to a lot of garage sales if I see they have Christmas stuff,” he said.
Although the yard is already a wondrous stop in the neighborhood, Copeland still feels like more could be done.
“It needs more color, more blue and more green,” he said. “That was something I was trying to get done this year but I just did not get around to it.”
Besides his decorating hobby, Copeland also enjoys woodworking. He has made several wood pieces that are also on display in his yard.
Copeland, who was born here in 1935, graduated from Duncan High School in 1953. In 1954, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an aircraft mechanic. After four years of service, he came back to Duncan to try and find a job in the civilian world, but jobs in Duncan were scarce because of a recession. Copeland again took up life in the Navy and stayed in until retirement. His daughter, Connie Copeland, is proud to share his time of service to the country — 21 years in the Navy, and another 20 years of civil service.
He retired and settled down in Washington until he decided to come back to Duncan in 1998.
“I got tired of the wind, rain and cold,” Copeland said. “I thought, ‘Well shoot, I will just go back home. I think the wind blows just as much here. It is just not as cold.”
After his return to Duncan, Copeland first worked at Walmart and then moved on to janitorial duties at the Simmons Center, where he worked for 11 years. He now just enjoys sharing his love of Christmas with his neighbors and the community he has always known as home.
“He is 77 and I pray he will have a lot of Christmases, but you never know,” Connie shared with The Banner.
Editor’s note: Connie wrote a letter to The Banner, and enclosed several pictures she took of her father’s yard. We welcome story ideas from our readers for Stephens County.
If you would like to write The Banner, you can find our mailing address on page 3; or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Banner also produces Duncan...the magazine, which features unique and interesting people and places of Duncan.
By Megan Bristow
Smart Start gives Head Start gift of books
To give children an edge, a headstart, Stephens County Smart Start used grant funds it received from Cotton Electric to purchase books for area Delta Head Start children.
In fact, Smart Start received $750 to purchase books to supply all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children with books. On Friday, Delta Head Start children at Irving Pre-Kindergarten were given two books through the grant program.
New Year’s First Baby at DRH is a Boy!
On January 1, at 5:08 am, the new year’s first baby at Duncan Regional Hospital came into the world. A beautiful baby boy, Cooper Grady, was born to Pete and Amanda Cisneros of Duncan. Baby and mom were presented a gift basket from the DRH Auxiliary Gift Shop for being the first baby born.
2013 featured ups and downs for Stephens County
For the Duncan and Stephens County area, 2012 was a year of progress and community deconstruction.
This year’s top story even managed to draw national attention, bringing news media from Australia. Chris Lane, 22, an Australian native, was shot and killed Aug. 16, while he was out for a run near Country Club Road and Twilight Beach.
In the days following, three teenage Duncan boys were arrested for Lane’s murder. Initially, Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards Jr., 16, were charged as adults, facing first-degree murder, and a third teen Michael Dewayne Jones was charged as a youthful offender to accessory to murder. In November, Jones, 17, was recharged as an adult facing first-degree murder.
The joy of waking up to Christmas
Leeland Gearhart sits amidst recently opened packages celebrating Christmas while still in his pajamas.
Houses dressed in holiday style
Beautiful lights adorn many houses all over Stephens County as families celebrate Christmas this holiday season.
Reception honors Hospice patients
More than 100 spots on the Tree of Remembrance had been purchased by Tuesday night, when the annual reception for the fundraiser was held.
Proceeds go to help pay for care terminal patients and their families receive from Chisholm Trail Hospice.
Winter weather continues
Temperatures dropped to 10 degrees. Freezing rain and snow fell, covering roads and yards. Through all of it, one thing was certain: Winter weather had come to Duncan.
In fact, about 0.23 inches of precipitation fell between 10:30 a.m. Thursday and about 9 a.m. Friday. By Friday afternoon, snow drifts ranged from about 2 inches up to 4 inches. And high temperatures leveled out at 25 degrees.
93 year old twins make holidays count
Many can only imagine the fun of growing up with a twin. Few have experienced the joy of growing older with someone of such a connection.
Charlie Ray “Bill” Hanson and Faye “Tater” Hanson Anderson were born Jan. 19, 1920, in Countyline and grew up in the Loco area. Hanson now resides in Duncan, while Anderson is in California.
Plato first-graders give thanks
Plato Elementary first-graders have much to be thankful for.
To ask a student a random what he or she is thankful for, that student might say he or she is thankful for family, friends or the Thanksgiving lesson learned Thursday. Plato first-graders invited family members to eat lunch with them, and during that Thanksgiving-themed program, the two students performed two songs and a poem for their audience.
This year’s program was extra special for at least one Plato teacher and two retired Plato teachers. For first-grade teacher Chrisie Young, this was her second year to lead the program with the other first-grade teacher Jamie Rowell. Young’s son, Cole Young, is also a Plato first-grader this year and was able to participate in the program.
Close election race against Nixon helped define Kennedy’s legacy
Just as most Americans in their 50s and 60s know exactly where they were the day – Nov. 22, 1963 -- President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, they also remember the charisma of Kennedy, the handsome Democratic candidate, and his performance on the first ever series of four televised debates.
Richard Nixon was the Republican opponent and while both he and Kennedy were strong, knowledgeable and capable candidates, Kennedy’s good looks, charm and style seemed to offer the Massachusetts senator a significant edge in what routinely has been called the first modern presidential election.
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