JOSEPH BERNARD KOPE passed away on January 2, 2021 at age 94. He was born on August 5, 1926 at 439 East Marion Ave., Youngstown, Ohio, the eldest of four children of Weronika (Vera) Gutwinska and Joseph Bartholomew Kopiczenski Kope. His paternal grandparents were Paulina and Marcin Kopiczenski. His maternal grandparents were Paulina and Ferdinand Gutwinski.
Joseph attended St. Stanislaus Kostka grade school, Princeton Junior High School and graduated from South High School at age 16 with the class of 1943.
Joseph played the accordion, piano and organ, having been taught by Yolanda Lombard, Yolanda Collins and Esther Heyman. At an early World War II bond drive held at the Krakusy Hall on South Ave., he gave a piano concert playing works by Chopin, Beethoven and Paderewski; $20,000 of bonds were sold that day. He also gave a piano concert to honor the Bishop of Youngstown at a Polish Arts Club dinner held at Rover’s Restaurant when he was 15 years old.
Following his graduation from South High School he attended Tulane University in New Orleans for one year. His education was interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
During his military service he was with AFPAC, AFWESPAC, the Recovered Personnel Division and Philippine Ground Command, all attached to General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters. In addition to his military duties, he played the organ for church services at military bases.
After his discharge from the Army, he held a number of jobs at: Montgomery Ward; Stevens Hotel in Chicago, Illinois; Hughes Provision Co.; Cavanaugh Hardware; and Penn Mutual Insurance Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also employed at Republic Steel Company as an overhead crane operator. He even sold Fuller brushes door to door for a while.
Joseph matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Youngstown University, and The Ohio State University from which he received degrees. He did post graduate work at Kent State University, Westminster College and Slippery Rock College.
Following his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania he worked in Washington, D.C. in cryptology for the Armed Forces Security Agency. He also worked in the Pentagon and the Shoreham Hotel for a brief time.
He returned to Youngstown where he was employed by the Kope Insurance Agency for eight years.
After receiving his degree in education Joseph began his teaching career. He taught English, History and Social Studies at Warren East Jr. High School in Warren, Ohio. Then he taught at Woodrow Wilson High School; and finally, at Volney Rogers Junior High School. He retired in 1989.
As a retiree Joseph enjoyed living, cooking and entertaining at his home in Austintown and at Saybrook on Lake Erie. He enjoyed his extensive art collection at both.
He volunteered at the old Youngstown Playhouse on Market Street for several years, and acted in several plays. He was in the first musical, “Paint Your Wagon” in which he sang and danced. He was also in the first musical at the new Youngstown Playhouse on Glenwood Ave.
Joseph acted in summer stock plays in Medora, North Dakota, including in the outdoor drama, “Old Four Eyes.” This was based on President Teddy Roosevelt’s life in North Dakota for the celebration of his 100th birthday.
For a while he taught Business English at the Savings & Loan Institute, and was an advisor to Junior Achievement while teaching at Woodrow Wilson High School.
Joseph was a member of the local, state and National Education Association and the Federation of Teachers. As a member of the Federation of Teachers he participated in the first teachers’ strike in Ohio in November 1966.
He was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English; the Youngstown Teachers of English of which he was a former president for two years; Kappa Delta Pi, honorary education fraternity of Westminster College; a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar; a member of Alpha Omega service fraternity, Glee Club and Choral Society Member.
Joseph also belonged to the Polish Arts Club of Youngstown; The Kosciuszko Foundation of NYC; the Polish American Historical Association; the American Center for Polish Culture in Washington, D.C.; the Mahoning Valley Historical Society; the Butler Institute of American Art; the Saxon Club; the Saybrook Beach Club; Senior Citizens of St. Stanislaus; Newman Club; St. Joseph Church; the Jewish Center on Gypsy Lane; American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Joseph leaves his brother Retired Colonel Donald L. Kope of Fresno, California, good friend Steven Senich, nine nephews and nieces, six grand nephews and nieces and one great-grand niece, and many cousins across the United States.
Joseph was pre-deceased by his parents, sister Vera Pauline, and his two step-mothers Marie A. Valicek Wallace Kope and Eleanore Gasser Gillam Suender Kope, and a brother Paul M. Kope of Minneapolis, MN.
Private services for the immediate family have been held. Joseph will be buried in the family plot at Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of The Valley (Hospice House), 5190 Market St., Youngstown, Ohio 44512.
Wieczny odpoczynek racz Mu dać Panie;
a światłość wiekuista niechaj Mu świeci.
Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord;
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
Stój z Bogiem - Stand with God
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