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Lawrence Copeland

Larry was the lead navigator for the 459th when he was shot down over Avignon, FR on July 17, 1944. His log shows he was on # 5364 with Capt. Kennedy, co-pilot Lt. Olivia, 2nd navigator Lt. Ostheimer, and bombardier Lt. Bonnet. It also indicates that 459th Group leading Wing with 759th Squadron leading Group: Major Warren leading in A/C #6462.

See Horror Story below

Lawrence G. Copeland

Noted Craftsman, Designer, Educator, and Former POW, Dies at 89

Lawrence G. Copeland, a well-known mid-twentieth-century American silversmith and long-time City College of New York educator, died on January 26 at his home in Boulder, Colorado. He was 89.

As a student, craftsman, designer, and teacher, Mr. Copeland interacted with some of the most important personalities of the mid-century American crafts movement and contributed to several of the most prominent craft institutions and enterprises.

Lawrence Gill Copeland was born in 1922 in Pittsburgh and raised in Knoxville. He attended Muskingum College before transferring to Ohio State University to pursue his love of art, despite objections from his parents. When World War II intervened in Mr. Copeland's undergraduate education, he served as lead navigator for the 459th Bombardment Group of the 15th Air Force and flew on B-24 "Liberators" before being shot down over Avignon, France in July 1944. He recorded his experience as a Prisoner-of-War at Stalag Luft I in sketches and other artwork in a Red Cross journal. He published that artwork with an accompanying narrative in 2010.

Following his liberation, he graduated from Ohio State in 1946. Mr. Copeland earned a Swedish Royal Fellowship to the University of Stockholm for 1947 and 1948 and also studied with Baron Erik Fleming, Court Silversmith to His Majesty the King of Sweden, at Konstfackskolan while in Stockholm. He then studied painting with Emeric Gomery in Paris in 1948 and 1949.

Mr. Copeland returned to the United States and earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1951. He quickly found an outlet for his silverwork at New York's now-legendary America House and began his long association with organizations sponsored by leading art patron and philanthropist Aileen Osborn Webb. Frances Wright Caroe, daughter of Frank Lloyd Wright and arts administrator of America House, facilitated his 1951 appointment as an Instructor at the School for American Craftsmen (SAC) at Rochester Institute of Technology.

At SAC, Mr. Copeland met his future wife, Mary Cuteri, who was an Instructor in dress design, whom he married in 1953. Mr Copeland became Head of Design for Oneida, Ltd. in 1959.

Returning to teaching, Mr. Copeland was appointed a Professor at City College of New York in 1963. He served as Chairman of the Department of Art from 1968 to 1969 but resigned from the post following the 1969 riots and disruptions on campus to return to more active teaching. In 1985, Mr. Copeland retired to Warwick, New York where he designed and built a home before moving to Boulder, Colorado in 2007.

Throughout his career, Mr. Copeland contributed to the American crafts movement as both a practitioner and thoughtful leader. His work in silver and pewter displayed dramatic sculptural volumes and delicate abstract details. It was displayed on the international stage as part of a traveling exhibition sponsored by the United States State Department in 1953. When the Museum of Contemporary Crafts (now the Museum of Arts & Design) was established in New York in 1956 by the American Craft Council and Mrs. Webb, he was selected to contribute work to the initial "Craftsmanship in a Changing World" exhibit. Mr. Copeland also had the distinction of having his work exhibited in the United States Pavilion at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels, Belgium and has pieces in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

In addition to his account of his World War II experience, Mr. Copeland authored Fabrication of Silver Hollow Ware which was published in 1959. During his career he was a frequent contributor to American Craft magazine (and its predecessor Craft Horizons), served on the Board of Directors of several professional organizations, including the American Craft Council, was a member of the Selection Committee for the Fulbright Program, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London.

Mr. Copeland is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary; his sons, Jeffrey and Ian; his daughter, Mary Louise Copeland; their spouses; and 7 grandchildren.

Lawrence Copeland moved among notable people and places of the mid-twentieth century crafts movement.While his work is the most tangible testament to his contribution to that movement, his most lasting contribution may well be the thousands of today's craftspeople he taught or influenced as an educator and his support for the creation and early years of what has become New York's Museum of Arts & Design.

The family has requested that donations in Mr. Copeland's honor be made to the Collings Foundation, PO Box 248, Stow, MA 01775.

MACR: 6755

Lawrence Copeland

2nd Lt Lawrence G Copeland was assigned to the 459th BG 759th Squadron.
Military Occupational Specialty (MOS): Navigator.

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