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To know her was to love her!
Mrs. Ernestine Brackins Copeland went home to be with the Lord Wednesday, January 31, 2024. She transitioned peacefully at Southeast Health, where she was embraced by the love and warmth of her husband, Tellis Copeland.
Mrs. Copeland was born on January 21, 1942, in Henry County, Alabama. She was the eighth child of Virgle and Serreather Crews Brackins. She early on found solace in her faith at Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Newville, Alabama. However, after being united with her husband, Tellis Copeland, she later joined Sweet Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ariton, Alabama and was a WatchCare member at Saint Peter African Methodist Episcopal Church in Headland, Alabama, becoming the epitome of a God-fearing woman.
Her love and passion for education began at Newville Rosenwald School; however, the family later relocated to Dale County, where she graduated from Pinckard High School in 1958. After graduating high school, she attended Alabama A&M College in Huntsville, Alabama, where she made lifelong memories and met the love of her life, Tellis, on “The Hill.” During her time at Alabama A&M College, she also became a member of the Gamma Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated in 1961. In 1962, she graduated and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education.
Upon graduation, Mrs. Copeland’s eagerness to embark on a new journey led her to Washington, D.C., where she prepared for a federal government job. After her mother’s health began to decline, she returned to Dale County to help her family care for her mother and begin her teaching career at Mack M. Matthews School. On August 19, 1965, Tellis and Ernestine Copeland were united together in Holy Matrimony, and together, they made an impact on numerous students at Mack M. Matthews School where they were both educators. After the two became one, the union was blessed with their one and only daughter, “the apple of their eyes”, Monica. In 1976, Ernestine furthered her love for education by obtaining a Master of Science degree in Education from Troy State University.
In 1976, after the integration of the Dothan City School System, Mrs. Copeland joined the Stringer Street Elementary School staff, where she taught fourth grade for 24 years. She retired from the Dothan City School System in 2000 with a total of 36 years of teaching, where she established a solidified foundation for numerous students and made a lasting impact on all of the lives that she touched.
Throughout her lifetime, Mrs. Copeland enjoyed reading, solving crossword puzzles, word searches, and planting flowers. She also had a great love for helping her husband manicure the lawn by using the riding lawnmower. Everyone can attest that Mr. & Mrs. Copeland were definitely “two peas in the pod” when it came to doing life together. In addition to Mrs. Copeland’s hobbies, she was also a devoted life member of the Alabama A&M University Alumni Association, a member of the Dothan Houston County Retiree’s Education Association, and a member of the Kappa Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Predeceasing Mrs. Copeland in death were her parents: Virgle and Serreather Crews Brackins; three sisters: Vertice Johnson, Shirley Brackins, and Winnie Blackwood; and three brothers: Willie Earl, Hurley, and Leon Ambrose Brackins.
She is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 58 years, Tellis Copeland; a cherished daughter, Monica Copeland-Livingston; two granddaughters: Triahna Livingston and Ebony Livingston; five sisters: Annie Williams, Evera Smith, Yvonne Lammons, Clefornia (Jessie) Salter, and Gloria (Robert) Copeland; four sisters-in-law: Barbara Brackins, Sherry Brackins, Arceola Copeland, and Florence Copeland; one aunt: Ida Mae Crews; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.
Mrs. Ernestine Brackins Copeland will always be remembered for her unwavering faith, dedication to education, and her love for family and community. May she continue to rest in eternal peace.