Marilyn Copeland

Marilyn Ann (Cogley) Copeland was born on July 8, 1934, the ninth of 13 children born to John Luke and Clara Figland Cogley in Grinnell.

She attended rural schools until high school, where she graduated from Grinnell High School in 1951. Marilyn then attended Iowa Teachers College (now UNI) in Cedar Falls, where she obtained her teaching degree in 1953.

While teaching school in Davenport, she was introduced to a handsome young soldier just home from Korea. Their first date was June 5, 1954. On June 25, 1955, Marilyn was united in marriage with James H. Copeland, of Davenport.

To this marriage were born four children: Jody, James, Julie and John.

Jim and Marilyn made their home in several communities in the early years — Davenport, Indianapolis, Fort Dodge, then finally in Jefferson beginning in 1961.

Marilyn was a very dedicated community servant active in many organizations, including the Jefferson Garden Club, where she was a founder of the Tour of Homes event. She was a past president of PEO Chapter CZ, Beta Tau Delta sorority and Culture Club, among others. She was also a member of the Ingleside Club.

The Copelands were co-recipients of the ABC Award.

Marilyn was extremely active in AFS (American Field Service), hosting exchange students from India, Argentina, Japan, Russia, Tunisia, Germany, Switzerland and Ecuador.

Marilyn was extremely active in her church, Trinity Episcopal of Carroll. She served on the diocesan committee and was a lay reader in the church. She also served as the chairperson for the women’s auxiliary of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

Marilyn served her family faithfully, going wherever she was needed to assist her children in home remodeling, caring for new babies, attending sporting events, etc. She was devoted to her children and grandchildren and excited to see photos of and receive visits from her great-grandchildren.

Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents and nine siblings: Sisters Betty, Eleanor, Bernice, Avis, Barb, and brothers Clarence, James, Keith and Allen.

She is survived by her husband of 64 years, James Copeland; children Jody (Terry) Lang, of Jefferson; James  M. Copeland, of Des Moines; Julie (Bill) Tvedt, of Oskaloosa; and John Copeland, of Des Moines; and eight grandchildren: Samarah (Nathan) Vermeer, Simeon Lang, Cameron Copeland, Erin Copeland, Elizabeth (Jesse) Wagner, Sam (McKennan) Tvedt, Nathan Tvedt, Rachel Tvedt; and three great-grandchildren: Truett Vermeer, Ellie and Titus Wagner. 

A fourth great-grandchild is due to arrive this week. 

Marilyn leaves behind three siblings: Joan Hopkinson, of Savannah, Ga.; Pat Lang, of Grinnell; and LeRoy Cogley, of Green Valley, Ariz.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 28 at Abundant Life Ministries in Jefferson. The family will greet friends that day at the church beginning at 11 a.m.

Interment will be in the Jefferson Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to P.E.O. or Beta Tau Delta.

Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home is assisting the family.  

Online condolences may be left at

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