Kazuko Mary Copeland was born on July 16, 1919 to Hidekichi and Rie Ishizeki in Urawa City Saitama, Japan. She was given the name Kazuko which means “Peace” since she was born at the end of WWI. Her father was the Mayor of Urawa City and she was one of eight children. She graduated from the prestigious Urawa Koujyo High School in Saitama, then worked in banking, as a beautician, and for the Oki Denki Electric Company.
She married Lewis Andrew Copeland in 1948 at the US Embassy in Tokyo. Oklahoma Senator Mike Monroney sponsored her to come to America. Lewis was a Purple Heart Recipient who served in the Army of the Occupation and the Korean Conflict. They were married until he passed in 2007 and made their home in Ponca City where he worked at Continental Oil Company after graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University. Kazuko (Mary K) retired from Culinary Services at the Ponca City Hospital and spent her time pursuing her passion for flower arranging and involvement in The Ponca City International Club, Chrysanthemum and Iris Clubs and at the First Baptist Church of Ponca City.
Kazuko was very artistic and loved to sing and was dubbed the nightingale by her friends. She shared her passion for music and art with her granddaughter Tammy, son Paul and daughter, June. She felt it was very important to speak English and attended night classes to learn to speak properly. She was so proud to be an American Citizen but still embraced her Japanese heritage.
Though she was very small in stature she was a very strong and determined person. She and her best friend Audrey Rogers were known as the geriatric “Thelma & Louise” and they had many adventures together. Kazuko loved visiting with Mizuho’s friends, chatting with her daughter-in-law, Linda, and having coffee with her son-in-law, LeRoy.
She suffered a heart attack in 2011 and moved to Oklahoma City to live close to her granddaughter, Tammy who cared for her until her death. She also spent a lot of time with her daughter’s family in Edmond. Kazuko loved to window shop and eat out. She became a member of the First Baptist Church of Edmond and enjoyed the wonderful friendships she made there.
She was preceded in death by her husband Lewis, her brothers Rickchi, Jin and Osama Ishizeki and sister Takako Udagawa.
She is survived by her constant companion, her beloved, precious Chibi Cat, her granddaughter Tammy Cartwright of Oklahoma City, daughter June and husband LeRoy Cartwright and great niece Mizuho Motoyama of Edmond, son Paul Copeland and wife Linda and their adopted daughter Peachie of Ponca City and sister Satoko Okuma, brothers Hiroshi Hasegawa and Mitsuro Ishizeki.
Funeral Services for Kazuko Mary Copeland will be held at 2:00 pm, Friday, October 23 at Matthews Funeral Home in Edmond Oklahoma. A grave side service will be held at a Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery in Ponca City at a later date.
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