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Reverend W. Eugene Copenhaver


Reverend W. Eugene Copenhaver, age 81, died Sunday, August 16, 2020 at his home in Marion, Va.

He was born September 20, 1938 in Marion, Va. the son of the late Glenn Edward and the late Ethel Virginia Coulthard. He lived in Marion from birth to 1956 and was an active member of Ebenezer Lutheran Church. He and his wife, the former Martha McDonald, resided in Roanoke, Va. until he graduated from Roanoke College in 1960. Gene received his Master's degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C. and was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1964. He served as pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pulaski, Va.; University Lutheran Church and Lutheran Campus Center at Clemson, S.C; Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, Arlington, Va.; and Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Manassas, Va. He retired in 2000 after 36 years of ministry. In 2013, he was named Pastor Emeritus of University Lutheran Church and Lutheran Campus Center in Clemson, S.C.

Pastor Copenhaver served on many boards, but he had special interest in helping to establish the CCIT (Clemson Congregations in Touch), the Literacy Council for Pickens County, S.C., Pickens County Council for Drug and Alcohol Abuse, serving as chair; and the council on Aging in Clemson, S.C. He served on the Board of Directors for the National Lutheran Home for the Metro-Washington area, the United Way Board of Directors for Arlington County, Va. and the Year of the Child Commission in Manassas, Va. His home was always open to family and friends who needed support during transitional or challenging times in their lives. He was an avid supporter of campus ministry throughout his life.

Pastor Copenhaver is survived by his wife of 62 years, Martha McDonald Copenhaver; daughter, Rebecca Lynn DeLegge and husband, Dr. Mark DeLegge of Awendaw, S.C.; son, Dr. Michael McDonald Copenhaver and wife, Charlotte of North Haven, Conn.; brother, Donald Edward Copenhaver and late wife, Mary Lou of Pulaski, Va.; sister, Joyce Copenhaver Freed and late husband, John of Roanoke, Va.; 7 grandchildren, Elizabeth Frias, Dr. Kevin Tkaczibson and wife, Emily, Taylor DeLegge, Garrett DeLegge, Madison Gibbs, Nicholas Copenhaver and, Emily Copenhaver; special family friends, Blair B. Brockmeyer and wife, Toni of Pittsburgh, Penn., and Linda Gross and Susan Wygal, both of Marion, Va.

There will be a private family service for the distribution of the ashes.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Ebenezer Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 1799, Marion, Va. 24354.

To share memories of or express condolences for Reverend W. Eugene "Gene" Copenhaver, please visit www.seaverbrown.com. Care for Pastor Copenhaver's family has been entrusted to Seaver-Brown Funeral Service & Crematory, 237 East Main Street, Marion, Va. 24354.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Reverend Eugene Copenhaver, please visit our flower store.


It is with deep sadden to learn the pasting of Revernd W. Eugene Copenhaver. As a member of the Lutheran family i am sure these words are shared by all. May God welcome him as he enter into eternal rest...

William " Bill " Lewis Sep 3 2020 12:00 AM

So sorry Marty ~ such an admirable man. I was fortunate to work with him while directing Bethel's preschool. A very special memory was - at my request, him baptizing my niece Alaina Anderson at Fairfax Hospital's NICU. This struggling baby will celebrate her 23rd birthday this year. Love and condolences to you and family.

Kathy Stewart Aug 28 2020 12:00 AM

Hello, and I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Pastor Copenhaver. I've resided in Arlington County, VA since 1975 and started attending Resurrection Lutheran Church (RELC) in Arlington shortly after moving here. Pastor Copenhaver and his assistant David Schafer I clearly remember. Pastor Copenhaver had a voice and manner that (along with the Holy Spirit) made one hunger to hear the Word. I missed him greatly when he departed RELC. A true disciple of our Lord. All my best to the Copenhaver family and yours in Christ, John Wood Arlington, VA

John Wood Aug 28 2020 12:00 AM

I am sorry for your loss. It is deeply painful to lose one you love but I hope you and your family can find comfort in your memories.

Marie Galloway Aug 27 2020 12:00 AM

Marty, I am so very sorry for the passing of your husband, Eugene. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Miss seeing you from our days in Extension together when you lived in Northern Virginia. Take good care, Ann

Ann Marlow Aug 24 2020 12:00 AM

Dear Marty and Family, I am so very to learn of Gene's passing. Please know that I will be thinking of you and praying for you in the days ahead. I have so many wonderful memories of Gene and the great times we shared over the years and especially those at Trinity Lutheran in Pulaski. He was a wonderful Pastor to our family and a mentor to me and so many others. Garnett Smith

Garnett Smth Aug 23 2020 12:00 AM

The man with the VOICE. I will never forget him. Pastor Copenhaver was the last word of advice that I took when having to make a very difficult decision about the custody of my young son. After hearing all the facts he simply looked at me as said "Herb, you don't have a choice" and it was clear that he was right. The events that followed could be called a miracle and probably saved my son's life. I think of him and Marty often and I will never forget his kind and gentle manner and his sage advice. Thank you Pastor Gene

Herb Rendo Aug 21 2020 12:00 AM

Gene was a most faithful, devoted member of the National Lutheran Home's Board of Trustees for eight years. As the Home's former executive director, I could always rely on Gene for his wise counsel and devoted service to the Home and its residents.

Rev. Dr. Richard D. Reichard Aug 21 2020 12:00 AM

To Marty and family, I am so sorry to hear of Genes death. I hope that he knew how much of a positive influence he was on me and my life. I am so glad he got to meet my wife and daughter at the RLC anniversary. My family extends are condolences to you all and may he rest in peace.

Steve Roeseler Aug 20 2020 12:00 AM

Dear Martha and others dear to Gene: Grace and Peace from our Lord Jesus! We grieve with you at Gene's death. You may not remember us but we were classmates at LTSS (Gene was student body pres our sr year and i was class pres.). I regret that we did not remain close after graduation but did follow his wonderful ministry (starting out at my grandfather George Rhodes first parish at Pulaski (my mom was then born at Rural Retreat). Gene was special to all of us who knew and loved him "back in the day." May you know God's Comfort and Peace. In Christ's love, David & Diana Keck

Dr. David R Keck Sr Aug 20 2020 12:00 AM

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