The Foster Child who successfully fostered

Unusual obituaries come along once in a while. Steve and I found this one endearing.


Joan Copeland chose Christmas to give up the goods and embark on her next adventure.

Her daughters, their husbands, several grandchildren, and her lifelong friend, Barbara Markland, were all with her at Carle Foundation Hospital to offer love as she transitioned.

She was born on July 25, 1934, to Louis and Elsie Fetters Silagy. She had a multitude of siblings. Severe hardship forced the family to scatter to the winds when she was a young girl.

She successfully fostered with the Gordon and Dorothy Almy famiiy of Indianola during grade school and then with the John and Opal Bettag family of Danville for her high school years. She graduated from Danville High School in 1552.

She went on to marry Don Carrigan and Benny Copeland Jr., both of whom departed before her. She turned down several other proposals of marriage over the years.

Those forced to forge ahead without her are [her three daughters, two sons-in-law, eight grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.]

Also left behind is Sophie, her feline companion of 17 years and another longtime friend, Hazel Demeris of Champaign.

– News Gazette Obituary, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.

NOTE:  Joan Copeland “chose Christmas to give up the goods….” We all give up the goods in the end.  The deceased’s family provides a picture of someone we’d like to have known. Laced with humor – “she had a multitude of siblings” – and respect, they paint her not as a poor foster child but as an actor who “successfully fostered” with the Almy and Bettag families. At the same time they pay tribute by including the first names of all six of the parents, biological and foster alike, and the names of her closest friends human and feline. They include husbands Dan and Bennie but leave chose not to humiliate the suitors of “the several other proposals.”