Virginia Montague Copeland, who always went by Jean, went to be with her Lord and Savior on October 26, 2022. Born on February 9, 1930 in Spartanburg, SC, to parents Alex Montague Copeland and Mary Virginia Hannon Copeland, Jean grew up in Spartanburg and graduated from Bob Jones University. After witnessing within her immediate family severe illnesses and the medical successes that innovative treatments could produce, she came to Atlanta to study nursing. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Emory and a Masters in Nursing Administration from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Her professional career was entirely within the Emory University Health System, where she worked tirelessly to improve patient care. One example was her co-invention of the single-use alcohol sponge to prevent cross-contamination, for which a manufacturer paid her $100. Her new ideas for patient care, organization, and staffing of the hospital led to increasing responsibility at Emory Hospital and later at Emory’s Wesley Woods Geriatric Center. She retired in 1995 after a long and important career, which included helping plan and design the way people with dementia could safely receive acute care when needed in what was then the newly built Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital. Tall, graceful, and gracious, Jean was an insightful and inspiring “servant leader” professionally and a loyal friend to many in her life.
Jean’s mother was the person who led her daughter to accept Christ as her Savior. This decision was the most momentous of her life, which has been guided and illuminated by her deep faith. She was a long-time member of First Alliance and then First Baptist Church of Atlanta and counted many of its members among her best friends. She is survived by her sister, Katherine Bruce Montgomery of Spartanburg, as well as many friends and namesakes, all of whom loved her deeply and considered Jean to be part of their own families.
A graveside service will be held in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Spartanburg, SC, 1300 Fernwood Glendale Road, Spartanburg, SC 29307, at 11:00 a.m on November 1, 2022 (arrangements through J.F. Floyd Mortuary) with a Memorial Service in Atlanta at a date to be decided later.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts go to the Virginia M. Copeland Giving Fund at the National Christian Foundation, Inc., 11625 Rainwater Drive, Suite 500, Alpharetta, GA 30009.
Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel