Dennis Copas


September 21, 2023

Dennis Arley Copas, 84, died Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, surrounded by his two children and wife of 51 years.

Dennis was born Sept. 21, 1938, in Rapid City, South Dakota, to Winfield "Scotty" Copas and Wilma "Billie" (Meink) Copas. He was the oldest of four children.

Dennis attended grades first through third at Spearfish Elementary. He moved with his family to Lead where he continued his education and graduated from Lead High School in 1956. After graduating high school, Dennis enlisted in the US Navy. He served from 1956 to 1959 on the U.S.S. Sirius (AF-60) as a machinist's mate.

After being discharged from the US Navy, Dennis attended trade school for auto mechanics at Southern State College. He graduated from SSC in 1961. Upon graduating, Dennis worked at Eddie's in Deadwood and Junek's in Spearfish. In 1962, he moved to Seattle, Washington, to work for Boeing. Dennis discovered big city life was not for him and returned to Deadwood, South Dakota, and worked at Hills Motors from 1962 to 1963. In 1964, he attended Black Hills State University and later transferred to SSC and received his bachelor of science in education in 1967. From 1966 to 1969, Dennis taught auto mechanics at SSC. After teaching at SSC, Dennis returned to Deadwood again and worked at Deadwood Ford from 1969 to 1976.

Dennis operated his own shop under the name of Meink Brothers' Repair outside of Spearfish on his uncle's farm from 1977 to 1988. In 1988, he left Meink Brothers' Repair and moved his family to Faith, South Dakota, where he began teaching for Northwest Area Schools as the basic mechanics teacher. In 1989, Dennis and his family moved to Isabel, South Dakota. He continued teaching for NWAS, teaching at a different school each semester until he retired in 2004. When he wasn't teaching, Dennis could be found in his independently owned and operated mechanic shop from 1994 to 2014.

Dennis married Karon Elaine (Gray) Copas of Superior, Nebraska, Feb. 19, 1972. Upon this union of love, two children were born, Shannon A. Copas and DeArley D. Copas.

Survivors are his wife, Karon (Gray) Copas of Spearfish; his son, Shannon Copas and wife, Aimee, of Bismark, North Dakota, and daughter, DeArley Copas Wright with Derrick of Bell Fourche, South Dakota; brother, Wayne "Ozzie" Copas and wife, Karen, along with his sister, Deanna Bowman still reside in Spearfish; grandchildren Aliya and Elizabeth copas of Bismark; and Tyrian and Bowen "Bo" Wright of Belle Fourche; and many nephews, nieces, great-nephews, and great-nieces.

He was preceded in death by his father Winfield "Scotty" Copas; mother, Wilma "Billie" Copas and sister, Querida "Rida" Bruson-Petersen.

A graveside service was held at 2 p.m. Sept. 5, at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota.

Honorary pallbearers were all his family and friends. Military honors were provided by the US Navy and the Spearfish Honor Guard.


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