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
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.
Former FCC Pastor counseled Ruby after shooting
A slight Duncan angle exists relative to the Nov. 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
James Smith, who served as senior pastor of the First Christian Church here for 20 years, was senior pastor at Urbandale Christian Church in Dallas from 1961 to 1971 before moving to Duncan in 1972. He was also a chaplain at the Dallas Police Department.
It was in his chaplain’s role, the connection was made.
Former state trooper assigned to security during president’s trips to Kerr Ranch
President John F. Kennedy only visited Oklahoma twice during his presidency. The first was to visit the Kerr Ranch. The second was to attend the funeral of Sen. Bob Kerr.
For Jan Howard-Cannon and her husband Don Cannon, Kennedy’s visits marked important moments in their lives.
Cannon was about 25 years old when he met Kennedy. Cannon was a trooper with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. By the time he retired, he was a major over the airline division.
A moment that changed our nation forever
Few events have shaken American citizens like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas.
It caused a change in what, until then, was a safe, secure, innocent, trusting lifestyle. It snuffed out the life of a charismatic, articulate leader who had a young, beautiful family and whose difficult decisions in tough times were adding to his support and popularity.
He was in Dallas to build momentum for a 1964 re-election campaign. His motorcade was open and inviting. Huge crowds that jammed sidewalks for a closer view were happy and excited.
4-H youth cook-off creates champions
Fifty-six Stephens County 4-H members and 18 Cloverbuds prepared their recipes for the 30th annual Stephens County 4-H Cook Off.
Dishes were judged on taste and appearance at the event, held Nov. 4 at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center. Awards were presented to the top three in each category.
A monogrammed apron was presented to the first place winners, while second and third places received kitchen items. Cloverbuds (5-8 year olds) were given a certificate and measuring spoons.
Duncan Art Guild Holiday Show winners and participants
More than 30 artists entered the Duncan Art Guild Holiday Art Show in three different categories. The event was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center's Territory Hall. These are the artists who entered. If they placed, that is beside their names.
Leaves of gold, red, orange and yellow swirl in the air and drift to the ground.
A symbol of change. A burst of brilliant color reminding you of hope — that winter is coming, but a rebirth is just around the corner.
Autumn, it’s one season a year. Yet, for Abigail Smith, autumn, her favorite season, came for her three times this fall.
First in Ukraine, then again in Paris and this last week in southern Oklahoma.
Abigail, a Duncan native who is dying of cancer, almost didn’t get to see her Oklahoma fall season.
“God gave me one more week. I don’t know why,” she said on Friday as she lay resting in a hospital bed in her living room, tended to by her mother, Betty.
FUMC men serve up flapjack feast
The men’s group at First United Methodist Church set out to make pancake perfection, while feeding the community.
Group members worked with other members of the church Tuesday to host the annual Pancake Day, formerly sponsored by the Duncan Chisholm Trail Kiwanis Club. This is the second year for the FUMC Men’s Group to sponsor the pancake feast.
“It’s a tradition thing we’re trying to carry on,” Butch Whitten, member of the men’s group, said. “It’s state election day. We’ll do this whether you vote or not.”
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