2013-05-16 / Outdoors

Fish Report

Well, I am going to leave my winter gear handy just in case, because I have given up even trying to figure out what the weather is doing or going to do. With the opening of pike and walleye season this week a fisherman better be ready for whatever may come our way. All in all it is going to be a short summer if it does not get here pretty soon.

Like I said, pike and walleye season opened and from what I hear there are some fishermen confused with the way the digest is worded for pike season. It is felt they did a much better job with the digest and are pleased with it.

I guess most of you have heard by now there is going to be a wolf hunt up here in the U.P. But it will not be here in our area. In fact, there will not be a season in either Delta or Schoolcraft County.

I received word through the Tribune that retired conservation officer Bill Copeland had passed away. The stories in my book ‘The Old School” were written by Bill Copeland. Here is the message I received from his daughter which read.

My father, Willis W. Copeland, Ret. Michigan State Conservation officer, contributed the stories for Sgt. Walker’s “Old School” edition of his Game Warden series, which was published by John in 2003. We were all very pleased and impressed with the editing and printing that came about.

My father left this world for the next on March 14, 2013, at age 95 - a testimony to the healthy outdoor life he lived!

Our family has planned a memorial celebration for him on Saturday, May 18, at 3 p.m. in Traverse City, Mich., where he was born.

We would very much like to make contact with Sgt. Walker to advise him of dad’s passing. We would be especially honored if he could join us in this celebration.

I am hoping you will contact him for us with this information, or put him in contact with us.

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Willis W. “Bill” Copeland, 95, departed his winter home in Vero Beach, Fla., on March 14, 2013, and joined his beloved wife of 67 years, Ardith, who preceded him in death in March of 2009. He was born Dec. 21, 1917, in Traverse City, to Harry W. and Stella A. Copeland.

Bill was a retired conservation officer from the state of Michigan, a retired World War II U.S. Army veteran, a lifetime member of the Masonic Temple, the NRA and Ducks Unlimited.

He lived and traveled between his homes in Michigan, Alaska and Florida and enjoyed the outdoor life wherever he went.

He was preceded in death by his son, Rodney L. Copeland; and daughter-in-law, Louise B. Copeland.

He is survived by his son, William H. Copeland, of Valdez, Alaska; and daughters, Sue Copeland Armbruster, of Vero Beach, Fla., and Jan S. Copeland, of Guanajuato, Mexico. He had eight grandchildren, Amy, Kathryn, Peter, Bryan, Kelly, Katie, Krista and Ardea; nine greatgrandchildren; and three greatgreat grandchildren.

His many friends and family were blessed with his constant example of kindness, gentleness and love toward all people and animals.

I read some remarks written about Officer Copeland and also called and talked to his daughter and found out a few things, some I already knew and others were told me.

The title of the book as I said was the “The Old School” and in more ways than one this is true about Bill. He was married to his wife for 67 years and in the later years she was rather sick and even through all these years, Bill was true to her.

After she passed, Bill lived with his daughter who I called and we had a great talk. I made the remark that after this many years when one or the other passes away the one left is left with part of them missing.

Bill’s daughter told me this story.

She said the day after dad passed away I heard a racket like I never heard before and figured an alligator had got something so I walked out on the back deck.

“Now understand I have lived where I was standing on the deck for more than 25 years.” “As I stood here trying to recall what the noise I was hearing was here came two large Canada geese flying low over the deck area and then they continued on going out over the ocean.”

She then stated, “John, in all the years I have lived down here I had never observed any Canada geese, but they were common back where I grew up in Michigan. Then I thought of the way they were calling and how their sound travels that mom had called down to dad and told him it is time to come up here with me.” She then said, “So they passed over my deck in perfect formation and went out over the ocean in a perfect farewell fly-by telling me, like mom and dad, Canada geese mate for life.”

I mentioned a number of the old officers that were around at the time her dad was working and asked if she knew them, she said she sure did, so I said, “Can you just imagine all the stories they are telling each other now.”

Truly the “Old School” has become a part of history, as now almost all of them are gone.

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