Gerald “Gerry” Paul Coppicus

Gerald “Gerry” Paul Coppicus

December 22, 1937 - March 28, 2024

As published in the May 20, 2024 World-Spectator


It is with great sadness we announce that Gerald Paul Coppicus, 86, of Calgary, Alberta, passed away on March 28, 2024, after a short, tough battle with cancer.

Gerry was born on December 22, 1937, to Adalbert and Anna Coppicus in Windthorst District, Saskatchewan. After Gerry graduated from his local high school, he was accepted into Teacher’s College in Moose Jaw and graduated with a Teaching Certificate in 1956. In 1964-65, Gerry earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bemidji State University, Minnesota, majoring in Physical Education and minoring in English.

Gerry began his teaching career at Neelby Country School in the Broadview School Division. It was a very tough day when Gerry walked into this rural school and had students in Grades 2-9 facing him. He was very young, just 18 years old, and had not been prepared for having more than one grade in a classroom. As time went by, he learned to budget his time carefully to ensure success for each student.

During the next few years Gerry moved around among multi-grade classrooms in the Broadview, Regina East and Melville North School Divisions before beginning a 30-year career with the Moosomin School Division.
After teaching in Fairlight (1960-62) and Maryfield (1962-64), Gerry landed a position in Moosomin in 1965. The first few years were spent teaching Grades 7-12 Phys Ed as well as coaching senior basketball, volleyball, track and field, softball, and badminton. From 1969 to retirement in 1990, Gerry taught Grades 4, 5 and 6, which ended up being his best teaching experience.
Known as “Mr. C”, Gerry taught hundreds of students Phys Ed, math, language arts, social studies, and health.

While teaching in the one room school in Jedburgh, Sask. during 1959-60, Gerry met Sylvia when she came to clean the classroom. She challenged him to a game of ping pong, their romance took off, and they were married in August 1960. Gerry and Sylvia went on to have five children: Reg, Louise, Paul, Rob, and Dave.

Over the years, Gerry and Sylvia travelled to visit with each child and their families, spending time preparing meals, doing chores, and then the biggest decision of the day— “Which card game do we play? Cribbage, King Pedro, or Schmere??” Travelling to their children’s homes took them to Kingston, Florida, Nova Scotia, Winnipeg, Calgary, Acme, Petawawa, and Cyprus.

During his time in Moosomin, Gerry was an avid sportsman, spending winters curling and officiating hockey and summers golfing, fishing, playing and officiating baseball.

Gerry’s favourite sport to play was baseball. After being a bat boy for his older brother’s team, he started playing baseball when he was 14 years old with the Windthorst Seniors. This was his home team for seven years, and he really enjoyed playing with his brother, Fred, for six of those years. In 2011, Gerry and all the members of the McAuley Blazers team from 1973-78 were inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. Although his playing days were behind him, his love of baseball was still strong, and he became an umpire. The highlight of his career as an umpire was when he, Tony D. and Morris S. made a trip to Swift Current and they officiated in the U18 Men’s Fast Pitch Canadian Championship—quite a deal!

Gerry supported his community in many ways: by supporting the activities and clubs his children participated in; by supporting the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; as an affiliate member of The Royal Canadian Legion; and as a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Gerry joined the Knights of Columbus (K of C) in 1972 and remained a proud member until his passing. During time with the K of C he worked most Monday evenings at the bingo. This was just one of the many, many ways Gerry was involved in raising funds to benefit both the church and community organizations. Under his leadership as Grand Knight during 1978-79, his council received an international award for work with the Community-Church-Youth and Family Life as well as honourable mention at the Provincial level for work with youth activities. At the provincial convention in 1985, Gerry was elected as a delegate of the Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus to attend the International K of C convention in Washington, DC.

In 1990 Gerry retired and a few years later he and Sylvia made the decision to volunteer for two years teaching at a mission school on the tiny island of Abaiang, in the central pacific nation of Kiribati. Upon their return to Canada, Gerry and Sylvia continued to travel to visit friends and family. They moved to Calgary in 2003 to be closer to family, where life revolved around supporting the grandchildren with their activities.

Gerry was predeceased by his parents Adalbert and Anna Coppicus, parents-in-law Frank and Katie Wlock, sisters Theresa Kearns, Martha Hassler, Helen Plein and Mathilda Lenius, brother Frederick, sisters-in-law Eileen Coppicus and Madeline Didyk Wlock, brothers-in-law Raymond Kearns, Peter Hassler, Paul Plein, Mathias Lenius, and Isadore Wlock.

Gerry is survived by his wife Sylvia, children Reg (Marianne), Louise (Mark Lines), Paul, Rob (Mona), Dave (Pam), twelve grandchildren and four great-grandsons, brother-in-law Ernie Wlock, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Prayers and fellowship were held Friday, April 5, 2024, at Christie’s Funeral Home and Crematorium, Yorkton, Saskatchewan. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Saturday, April 6, 2024, from St. Pius Roman Catholic Church, Windthorst, Saskatchewan with Rev. Francis Hengen celebrating.

For those unable to attend the Mass in person, you may still view it at
Interment was held at the parish Cemetery. Following the Mass, attendees joined the family in the church hall for lunch and visiting.

In remembrance of Gerry, donations may be made to St. Pius Church Cemetery Fund at 156 Railway Ave., Windthorst, SK, S0G 5G0.

You were a very special father. You were blessed with so many wonderful gifts, and the best of all was your warm smile and sense of humour you shared with those around you. Dad, we miss you terribly.