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04/02/2012 - Oscar Paul Cope

Oscar Paul Cope, age 92, a lifelong resident of Oelrichs, SD, passed away at his home March 29, 2012. 


Oscar Paul Cope was born January 7, 1920, at Sister’s Hospital in Hot Springs to Paul S. and Anna D. (Hoopes) Cope.  His early years were spent on the family farm and attending Lithia and Lennon schools.  He attended Oelrichs High School three years but graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1937.  He was very interested in science and math and would like to have attended the School of Mines but money was scarce so he joined the Army in 1942. 


Oscar rarely talked about his military experiences but there were many.  He reported to Ft. Leavenworth then to Ft. Sill.  He then went overseas on the Queen Mary to Scotland.  For a time he bounced around between Ireland, Scotland, and England finally traveling to North Africa where he saw his first heavy action at Casserine Pass. The Germans were routed out of North Africa in 1943 and he spent the next two years in Italy.  Here he continued to help establish and maintain wire communications (no, there were no cell phones!!). Following the German’s surrender, he was sent to Switzerland and, because he had over 500 days of combat hours, he was honorably discharged on August 6, 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.


Oscar married his life partner, Laura Lucille Hussong, on January 7, 1947, (yes, on his birthday!).  They went to work building a ranch on Shirk Creek, built a new home the winter of 1959-60 and welcomed and raised three children.  It was a triumphant moment in his life when he became debt free and could COLLECT interest instead of PAY it!  In 1987, they sold the ranch to their sons and built a house in Oelrichs.


Oscar thoroughly enjoyed giving cribbage “lessons” to his family, reading, woodworking, and building wishing wells.  He was very proud of the antique buggy he restored.  He and Laura decided to visit each of the lower 48 states and were planning to visit the New England states when Laura’s health began to fail.  She passed away June 2, 2000, after 53 years of marriage.


Through the years Oscar served on the Election Board, Township Board, Pettigrew Telephone Line Company, and was a member of the Oelrichs United Methodist Church and American Legion Forney-Swigert Post. 


Visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. thru 7:00 p.m. with a prayer service beginning at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, April 1, 2012, at the Prairie View United Church near Smithwick, SD. 


Funeral services will be at 2:00 p.m., Monday, April 2, 2012, at Prairie View Methodist Church with Pastor Paul Smith and Pastor J. Edwin Coates officiating.  Burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery with Military Honors.


Oscar is survived by sons, Wayne (LouAnn) Cope of Oelrichs; Leslie Cope of Oelrichs; daughter, Anita Cope of Hot Springs; grandchildren, John (Stacy), Jim (Tina), Sara (JW), Andreia, Leigh Oscar; great grandchildren, Alicia (Miles), McKenzie, Zane, Anna, Taylor, Gabriel; great-great grandchild, Tayci; sister-in-law Jean Cope as well as several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. 


Oscar was preceded in death by his life partner, Laura Lucille; his parents; sisters, Dorothy Arminta, Martha Lucile, Agnes Louise, Helen Irene and brother, Wilbert Virgil.


Casket bearers are John, Jim, Leigh Oscar, McKenzie, Zane Cope, Sara and JW Reynoldson, and Andreia Mraz.


In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorial(s) be directed to the Oelrichs Rodeo Association and Oelrichs Ambulance Service.


Arrangements have been placed in the care of McColley’s Chapel of the Hills in Hot Springs. Written condolences may be made at www.mccolleyschapels.com.

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