Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Len Copple, former Tempe City Councilman and community activist, passes away

Picture courtesy the website of the City of Tempe's website.

From the City of Tempe press release -
Former Tempe City Councilmember Leonard (Len) Copple, 68, passed away early Monday morning after a courageous battle with acute lymphocytic leukemia. What will be long remembered are the decades of service, the wit and the character of the man behind what some call the city’s “velvet voice.”

Copple, a retired Tempe lawyer, served two terms on the Tempe City Council, from 1998 to 2006. In 1994, he was appointed to serve a six-month Council term for Don Cassano, who resigned to run for Mayor. Copple served on the city’s Planning and Zoning commission from 1984 to 1989. For many years, his commanding voice could be heard on the city of Tempe’s on-hold messaging system describing various community amenities and services. Copple’s family said Monday that he was perhaps most proud of his role in bringing light rail and the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon to Tempe.

Tempe Community Council (TCC) named Copple a “Tempe Treasure,” as he had been nominated many times for that organization’s Don Carlos Humanitarian Award. He was the front desk receptionist for TCC’s Earned Income Tax Credit program for eight of the last nine years. Copple also had many years of involvement with Tempe Sister Cities and other community organizations.

“Len was not only a voice for those without; he was fiercely dedicated to improving Tempe through his charitable volunteer work,” said TCC Executive Director Kate Hanley. “He was a friend to everyone he met.”

Services will be 1 p.m. Sunday, May 23, at Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church, 1565 E. Warner Rd., in Tempe.

Copple is survived by his wife, Jean, three children, six grandchildren and a brother. The family asks that donations be made to the Friends of the Tempe Center for the Arts (700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 85281) or to the Leukemia andLymphoma Society (http://pages.teamintraining.org/dm/rnr10/cathyswann).
From the AZ Republic story on Copple's passing -
Councilman Ben Arredondo served with Copple on the Tempe City Council during Copple's terms from 1998 to 2006.

Copple was a stellar example of what a civic leader should be, Arredondo said.

"I thought Leonard was one of the most honorable persons I've served with. He stood by his convictions," Arredondo said. "I think that the two things he'll be remembered for are his honesty and his honorable intentions. That's what it takes to be a strong politician that people respect."
In a phone conversation, Corey Woods, a current member of the Tempe City Council spoke of Copple's kindness both toward the community (which has been well documented), and toward individuals.

For instance, after Woods' first run at a council seat in 2006, Copple volunteered to help first-time candidate Woods take down his campaign signs. After that, they were fast friends. They remained so even after Copple left politics behind, frequently meeting at Pier 54 in Tempe for lunch. There, Copple would often serve as a confidante and sounding board.

An emotional Woods observed "the entire community will miss him."

Expect more tributes to Copple in the coming days.

My condolences go out to Copple's family and friends on their loss.

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