, Port Arthur, Texas

December 31, 2012

Rex Eugene Copeland

The Port Arthur News

—    Rex Eugene Copeland, loving husband and father, passed peacefully on to heaven Saturday, 12/15/2012, at the age of 94.  He was born August 7, 1918, on a farm southwest of King City, MO, to Benjamin Porter and Georgia Mae Vaughn Copeland.  The youngest of three sons, he attended school in a one-room school house.  He later would begin his 40 year teaching career in a similar rural school.

   He graduated from King City High School in 1937.  He received a Bachelor’s degree from N.W. Missouri State Univ. where he majored in Business and minored in Math, and later earned a Masters Degree in Education from Sam Houston State Univ. in Huntsville, TX.  He was a life-long member of the First Christian Church of King City, and also of Port Arthur, TX.

   He enlisted in the Army during WWII to help defend his country.  He was placed in the Army Air Corp, where he was a flight instructor.  It was during his time at the Corsicana Air Field in Corsicana, TX, where he met the love of his life, Lois Madden.  They were married November 9, 1944, and shared 68 wonderful years together.  

   After teaching high school for 7 years in Lyman, WY, they relocated to Port Arthur, TX, where the weather more suited his Texas bride. He taught at Thomas Jefferson High School and Nederland High School.  They raised 4 daughters, spending the winters in Texas and the summers in King City on the farm where he grew up.

   He was a member of the Texas Classroom Teachers Assoc., Texas State Teachers Assoc., Natl. Education Assoc., Texas Business Education Assoc., Pi Omega Pi Fraternity, Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity, President of the Port Arthur Classroom Teachers Assoc., NEA Delegate, and Nederland High School Teacher of the Year.  He took many students to Texas UIL Typing competitions producing many finalists and a State Champion.

   Rex had a very competitive spirit and enjoyed all sports, especially golf which he played well into his 80’s.  He loved traveling and spending summers in King City, but above all, his family was most important to him.

   He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Emile Murray Copeland and James Vaughn Copeland.

   He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lois Madden Copeland, four daughters:  Shelley Copeland of Plano, TX;  Joni Dixon and husband Randy of Plano, TX;  Robin Rodwell and husband Doug of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;  Ginni Gilgour and husband Steve of Blue Springs, MO.  Also 7 grandchildren:  Lindsay Dixon Bradley, Lacey Dixon Wostal, Heather Rodwell White, Ashley Rodwell, Wil Rodwell, Chase Gilgour, and Hailey Gilgour, and one great grandchild, Olivia White.

   He was laid to rest Wednesday, December 19, in King City, Missouri with military rites.  To share a memory or condolence, visit

   In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Christian Church of Port Arthur.