Life Story for
Guy Arthur Copeman, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away on September 11, 2018. Guy is survived by his daughter Gina (and Gene) Jamison of Covelo, Ca., son Charles (and Julie) Copeman of Billings, Lisa (and Mark) Guy of Laurel and grandsons, Keith and Kyle Guy and Chucky Copeman, granddaughter Amber Himmelspach and great granddaughter Payton.
Guy was born on April 27th, 1929 on a farm in Northeastern Iowa. The last of seven children, six months prior to the stock market crash that was the beginning of the Great Depression that lasted until the start of World War II, 1941. Times were very hard on all family providers during those years therefore every family member had to work. This is when Guy learned the good work ethic he enjoyed throughout his life. If you saw him working, you saw him happy. He never found comfort in relaxing or travel, preferring to work and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
From age 16 to 21 Guy was a cave guide at Niagara Cave located in Southeastern Minnesota just across the Iowa-Minnesota state line about five miles from the family farm. Without realizing it at the time, this is where he learned the confidence to speak in front of groups of people that later became his profession in life.
Guy volunteered and served in the Air Force from 1950 to 1954 during the Korean War. Following Basic Training he attended an Army x-ray technology school at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Upon completion of x-ray schooling he was assigned to the Kadena AFB medical dispensary x-ray room on the Island of Okinawa, located in the South China Sea where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. This dispensary was medical support for the B-29 bomber crews of the 307th Bomb Squadron and 19th Bomb Wing. Guy served on Okinawa from 1951 to 1953.
Returning from Okinawa, Guy was assigned to the Great Falls Air Force Base. Following discharge in 1954 he went to work in the x-ray department at Columbus Hospital when they were in the process of starting the first x-ray technology school in Montana. Guy was chosen to be their first instructor. Following marriage to Phyllis Paranteau, an opportunity opened up in Billings where they moved to become their permanent home.
Guy’s first job in Billings was with radiologist Dr. Grant Raitt doing radiography, radiation therapy and teaching one x-ray student each year. Remaining there six years Guy was then hired by Deaconess Hospital to start an x-ray school at their facility. Following another six years there, in 1968, Guy was hired by St. Vincent Hospital to become program director and instructor in their x-ray technology program and remained there for 36 years until his retirement on July 2nd, 2004. Even though he was retired, he always remembered his students and remained with them in sprit. During his time at St. Vincent he also served as Radiology Manager for 13 ½ years.
Prior to his retirement he worked with Administration at the College of Technology to transfer his program to them and taught in their first two semesters to help them get started.
Guy’s work with his x-ray students was his life, having taught over 300 young persons to provide them with a future in the medical profession as Registered Radiologic Technologist’s. Guy loved his students, enjoyed them and cared about them every day. He looked forward to going to work each day that he claimed was never work, but rather fun. In addition to his regular job, over a 37-year period, Guy taught Basic X-ray Techniques for District 6 Health Care Learning Center and RiverStone Health to over 2000 persons to qualify them to take the State of Montana limited x-ray permit test. That number included others from out-of-state as a refresher course for continuing education. With his exceptional positive attitude about everything, Guy enjoyed life. His response to “How are you?” was always “Excellent”. July 1st, 2004, at age 75, allowed Guy to reach his goal of 50 years as an x-ray technology instructor. He was especially pleased by being blessed with exceptionally good health, not missing one day of work due to illness or injury from 1953 on Okinawa until retirement in 2004.
During the fall of 1990 Guy had a contractor build the shell of his cabin located in the East Rosebud Canyon, seven miles up the gravel road past the Grizzly Bar at Roscoe. Guy completed most of the inside work over the next 10 years of weekends. This was his labor of love and a legacy to leave to his children and grandchildren.
Once asked how he would like to be remembered, his response was simple; he just wanted to be remembered “as a nice guy”.
Following cremation there will be a celebration of Guy’s life at 10 am on Monday, September 17th at Smith West Chapel, 304 34th St W. Interment with military honors will be at 1 pm at Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel. Condolences may be shared online at www.smithfuneralchapels.com.