Benjamin Andrew Copass III, 87, entered the Lordís Kingdom on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Ben was born July 5, 1923, in Troup, Texas, to Benjamin Andrew Copass Jr. and Blanche Collier Copass.
He was raised in Troup and later Mineola, Texas, where his father was superintendent of schools and his mother an English teacher at Mineola High School. Ben graduated as salutatorian of his class in 1940 and attended Rice University for a year before transferring to the University of Texas to study business. While there, he joined the Navy ROTC and was deployed to the Atlantic in February 1944 as navigator of the USS Barr. Ben survived the U-boat torpedoing of the Barr on May 29, 1944, and was transferred to the Pacific onto the USS Finch, which he was aboard when World War II ended in August 1945. The Finch was part of a post-surrender naval flotilla that went around the world, and Ben visited Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Bombay, the Suez Canal, Egypt and many ports in the Mediterranean before returning to U.S. soil. After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he returned to U.T. to finish his BBA.
He married Dorothy Mae Kuhlman of Austin, Texas, on Jan. 29, 1947, and upon graduation in May 1947, was hired by the Humble Oil and Refining Company. He worked first in Anahuac, Texas, and in 1952, was transferred to the home office in Houston, where he was a contract administrator. In 1956, he began working toward a law degree at South Texas School of Law, attending night classes while employed full time. He received his JD in 1959, and because his score was the highest on the Texas Bar Exam, he gave a speech at the Texas Supreme Court in Austin before the justices, fellow attorneys, family and friends. He was then hired by Transwestern Pipeline Company in Houston as special assistant to the President. One of his many accomplishments was testifying before the U.S. Congress on behalf of the petroleum industry.
In December 1963, he and his family moved to Waxahachie, when he went into business in Dallas, forming Capitan Oil & Gas, an exploration and drilling company that also owned and operated a refinery in New Mexico. In 1967, he moved his business to Waxahachie, remaining in the oil and gas business and becoming an investor. While living in Waxahachie, he taught the Senior Boysí Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church for more than 10 years and was also active in the Rotary Club. Ben retired in 1982 and Dorothy and he moved to Alpine, Texas, where they lived until moving in 1992 to Cisco, Texas. In 1993, Ben was inducted into the Mineola High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievements and letters in multiple sports, and, in 2005, Ben and Dorothy moved to Dallas to be closer to their daughters. Throughout his life, Ben remained close to his family and a wide circle of friends and was an enthusiastic observer of current events and the political scene, a voracious reader and student of history, a Biblical scholar, and a master gardener, renowned for his beautiful roses.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dorothy Kuhlman Copass; three daughters, Sue Copass, Cindy Copass Woolley, Sally Copass-Jackson; and two grandchildren, Angela Craig and Michael Woolley, as well as his son-in-law, Byron Woolley; and grandson-in-law, Donovan Craig.
A visitation for family and friends will be held at Wayne Boze Funeral Home in Waxahachie from 7-9 p.m. Friday, March 25, 2011. Services will held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 26, 2011, at Wayne Boze Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Waxahachie City Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Scottish Rite Hospital of Dallas or World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wayne Boze Funeral Home. www.waynebozefuneralhome.com