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Leon Copenhaver

Leon M. Copenhaver

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019
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Obituary

Leon Morris Copenhaver, 89, of Missoula, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on November 6th, 2019. Leon was born April 9th, 1930 in Missoula and was the 7th child born to Moody and Elizabeth Copenhaver.
Leon’s early years were spent at the family ranch near Ovando, MT where the family’s main occupation was outfitting and guiding hunting and fishing parties into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Taking after his brothers who were avid trappers, Leon maintained a large trap line that he tended to after school. He and his sister were homeschooled by the neighbor until 7th grade, when he then went to school in Great Falls. He then attended high school in Missoula. In Leon’s own words “I graduated from high school in the spring of 1949 and worked at the ranch and guiding until the later part of the year. Then I went into the Bob Marshall Wilderness trapping for the rest of year. When I came out in the spring, I had my notice to go into the US Army in 1950”.
Leon served during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953 as a corporal. When Leon returned from Korea, he and his brother Wendell and nephews Leroy, Larry, Rodney and Wally formed a western band that played in Helmville and neighboring communities in the Blackfoot Valley. He later attended diesel school in California. Upon returning from California, he met the love of his life, Mary Jo Matti from Helmville. They were later married on June 7th, 1958 in Missoula. During that time, he was working for Rossignol Logging in Ovando, running heavy equipment until 1962.
Leon and Mary Jo welcomed a daughter Leona (1959) and a son Clay (1961). In 1962, Leon opened a Texaco station on West Broadway in Missoula selling tires and gasoline. He later partnered with Red Brambo of Missoula in the 1970’s and formed L&R Tire, where he was a co-owner for over 20 years. After the tire business closed, he continued selling wheel covers in the Missoula area for many years.
In 1982, Leon and his son Clay bought property in the Big Flat area of Missoula and started Copenhaver Plantations, a local choose and cut Christmas tree farm that is still in business today.
Even though Leon never really retired, he still found time for many adventures and hobbies. In his younger years he enjoyed trail biking deep into the backcountry, snowmobiling, and playing music. He loved hunting – even at the age of 87, whitetail bucks were still no challenge for him. He was an avid fisherman who loved to fish for whatever swam. He took many trips to the Pacific coast, Canada, and many local areas including Holter Reservoir. Later in life he loved woodworking and was a great craftsman and designer of all sorts of projects including birdhouses, wagons, and water fountains. He loved throwing a log on his sawmill and milling his own boards. There was never a project that he couldn’t tackle and he was a great designer of contraptions with whatever he had laying around. Leon was also passionate about church and always looked forward to church camp every year.
Leon is preceded in death by his parents Moody and Elizabeth Copenhaver; sisters Leona Copenhaver and Louise Brunett; brothers Gene, Howard, Lawrence and Wendell Copenhaver.
Leon leaves behind his loving wife of 61 years Mary Jo; daughter Leona (Rick) Cornwell of Spokane, WA; son Clay (Karla) Copenhaver of Missoula; grandchildren Jennifer (Jason) Mickelson of Prineville, OR; Grant Copenhaver of Seeley Lake; Laurel (Reed) Perry of Spokane; Ryanne (Nick) Wilson of Spokane; and three great-grandchildren; sister Betty Roe of Great Falls; and many nieces, nephews, and other family.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Christian Life Center, 3801 Russell Street, Missoula with Pastor Steve Flatau. A reception will follow the service to celebrate his life. Please come and share stories and memories of our beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Leon will be buried in the valley he so dearly loved on Sunday, November 24th at the Ovando Cemetery at 1:00 p.m.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 | 1:00pm
    When
    Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 1:00pm
    Location
    Christian Life Center
    Address
    3801 Russell
    MISSOULA, MT
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    A memorial service will take place on Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Christian Life Center, 3801 Russell Street, Missoula with Pastor Steve Flatau. A reception will follow the service to celebrate his life. Please come and share stories and memories of our beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend. Leon will be buried in the valley he so dearly loved on Sunday, November 24th at the Ovando Cemetery at 1:00 p.m.
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DS

Don & Laura Schrock

Posted at 02:00pm
In our hearts and prayers, Mary Jo and family. Have some very fond memories of Leon when we all were younger. I am a 2nd cousin, Mary Jo, who you no doubt don't remember. My mother, Velma Edwards Olsen, was a cousin of the Copenhavers, her Dad Walter Edwards was a brother to Elizabeth, Leon's Mother. We met at a get together not too many yrs ago in Great Falls at the steak house and I believe even before that. Laura Olsen Schrock and Don Schrock
















e met at the get together at the steak house in Great Falls several years ago
DB

Dean Bateman

Posted at 02:20am
Red and Leon were the best guys I ever worked for. 45 years ago at Leon’s Tire Service. Sympathies to the family.
Dean Bateman
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