Jackie Dean Copple, 87, passed away on January 21 at St. James Hospital in Pontiac, IL.
Jack was born in Whitefield Township, Marshall County, IL on July 27, 1933 to John Dee Copple and Luella Irene Rickey.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Thelma Darlene (Copple) Bruell Lakempar, and both parents.
Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Joan Elizabeth Hale of Streator and daughters Lori (Ken) Gallagher of Corona, CA, and Teri (Donn) Peterson of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Christopher Hicks, Conner (Bree) Gallagher, Courtney and Caitlin Peterson, all of CA.
Jack was first and foremost a United States Marine, even to the point of marrying Joan on the Corps. Birthday, November 10, 1984. His base training was at MCRD, San Diego, CA in 1951. The next year he was in Korea with B Company, 1st Battalion7th Marine, 1st Marine Division. During combat he was wounded and received a Purple Heart.
Upon returning stateside, he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, NC until he received one of his favorite duties. From 1954-1956 he was a Marine guard at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. He learned to speak Neo Aramaic and met Menachim Begin, the future Prime Minister of Israel.
Jack Copple was never content in one place. He was a Marine recruiter in Milwaukee WI, and escorted Miss America of 1958, Mary Ann Mobley, to the Wisconsin State Fair. He also met country music superstar Jim Reeves who lost his guitar prior to a performance. Jack owned a Martin guitar that Reeves borrowed and promptly offered to buy. Jack declined to sell.
The most important event of his assignment in Wisconsin was Jack's marriage to the mother of his daughters, Kathleen Allaire Sorensen from Racine, WI in 1962.
Jack was involved with the blockade of Cuba during the Missile Crisis of 1963. Then he was in Harrisburg, PA on I and I duty until he went to Danang in Vietnam as a Motor Transport Chief and a door gunner on Huey Med Evac helicopters from 1965- 66.
After Vietnam, he returned to the Marine Air Station in El Toro, CA and retired from active duty in 1971.Shortly thereafter, he was hired as the maintenance foreman at Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach, CA.
At this stage of his life, he wanted to try his hand at self-employment. He earned certification and opened a locksmith business from his home. He had many interesting stories, but his favorite repeat customer was Pilar Wayne, wife of John Wayne.
Jack and Joan married in CA in 1984 and they moved his locksmith business to Ocala, FL in 1998. Jac k was a security specialist for Sears and Roebuck, and later was employed by Munroe Regional Medical Center as a man of all trades.
Jack loved to tour the country on his Honda Goldwing motorcycle, play the guitar. saxophone, and clarinet (all self taught), dabble in painting, and make engraved leather purses and wall hangings. But it still was not enough.
Upon moving to Streator, IL, Jack took up woodworking with a bandsaw. He delighted in making hundreds of Items that he freely gave away.
Jack remained devoted to his beloved wife of 36 years and the Marine Crops. He lived and died, mostly on his own terms. “Semper fidelis,” old Marine, rest well, we’ve got the watch!
A private memorial will be held at a later when Covid protocol permits.
Winterrowd Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
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