Steven Wayne Copeland, Jazz Musician, age 55, died unexpectedly on Saturday, July 25, 2020. Born August 11, 1964 in Stuttgart, Germany, a son of Howard F. and Vera Copeland. Steve was born in Stuttgart, German on August 11, 1964, a son of CSM Howard F. and Vera Copeland. Their military family traveled throughout the world, and finally settled in Romulus, NY where he graduated from high school. He studied music at FLCC, he furthered his graduate work at SUNY Fredonia and the Eastman School of Music. He taught at the Nathaniel Rochester Community School No.3 for many years, Steve was a natural and loving teacher who forever had his student’s best interests at heart.
Steve lived with all his heart and will be missed by many. Steve is survived but his brothers; Greg Copeland, Robert Copeland and Family, his step-sister Gabriella Schmidt, and his step-mother Ursula Copeland and his niece Daniel Juliann Copeland. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, cousins in the St. Louis, Missouri area. He was preceded in death by: his father, CSM Howard F. Copeland, biological mother, Vera Copeland and his older sister, Donna K. Copeland.
A celebration of Steve’s life will be held privately by his family and closest friends
To those who knew Steven Wayne Copeland, it breaks my heart to say, that my brother has died.
Steve was an innovative person right from the start. When we were boys I kept him with me bc he was always likely to mouth off to the wrong person and wind up getting his ass kicked. Steve was a lover not a fighter.
For all my life Steve was into sounds, not just music, and bought his first synth when he was 12, in Germany, a Roland SH-5. His first keyboard, my parents bought him, was one of those two tiered organs that many people had in their homes in the early seventies. He went on to study music at the Finger Lakes Community College where he met his mentor, and our dear friend Dr. A. John Walker as well as his first actual piano teacher, Ms. Sue Sohner. He stayed an extra year at FLCC to continue studying with her before being accepted to SUNY Fredonia. He was there to study classical performance. Having always been able to improvise on the piano, having taught himself all he knew until he was fortunate enough to meet John and Sue, he started pursuing jazz with his friends Herman Meyer, Nelson Starr, Dave Friedman, and Ed Burns. They formed a group, YAJÉ, or, Yet Another Jazz Experience. He studied Jazz Composition with Robert Jordan while at Fredonia and with Bill Dobbins of the Eastman School of Music. He also did some playing for Mike Stern and his wife. Jazz became ever more important to my brother and, during his Juries of his Senior year at Fredonia, he recognized he’d rather play Miles Davis than Bach. Although he maintained a love of classical music, and Bach specifically.
Steve’s life involved many ups and downs and, now that he can’t give me grief for saying it, he met the single love of his life at FLCC, she knows who she is.
He maintained friendships with a small and select group of people, both from high school and University. Those I mentioned before and that list should include Sara Pulver and Herman Meyer, Marc Anthony, his high school quarterback, all the Erics, Andrea Wade, to whom he was married for several years, Katherine Bauerschmidt (Katie), Jackie Minyard Carlson, Brian Facklam, Craig Snyder, Amy Willower, Frank Anthony, all his colleagues at the Nathaniel Rochester Community School, the children he had the pleasure of teaching music to, and so many I’ve forgotten. I apologize for the omission of others.
Steve was a natural and loving teacher who forever had his student’s best interests at heart. I have been with him numerous times in Rochester and some former student would approach him saying that Steve had had such a positive impact on their lives. It was beautiful to witness and made me tremendously proud.
When I returned from a summer in Rome, Georgia, I was advised by Steve, Mattee (my SO), and my father that I should finish my degree. Steve came to see me at SUNY Cartland at one point after I had spoken to him on the phone, knowing I was not in a good way. We hung up at 2am and Steve was at my door at 8am, having driven through the night to, as he was fond of saying, “talk me off the ledge.” As he was leaving he told me I’d never learn to play if I didn’t take the guitar out of the case. Two weeks later he sent me a guitar stand and a music book, The Eagles - Made Easy for Guitar. I’d probably still have that guitar in the case and never learned to play were it not for that incredibly thoughtful kindness Steve showed me.
As Steve’s dear friend Herm Meyer said, “Steve simply gave so much of his heart and soul to the world, people he loved, and the kids that he taught....there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for people he cared about...an authentic, beautiful human being.”
Steve lived with all his heart and will be missed by many. Steve is survived but his brothers Greg Copeland , Robert Copeland and Family, his step-sister Gabriella Schmidt, and his step-mother Ursula Copeland and his niece Daniel Juliann Copeland. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, cousins in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Steve was predeceased by our father CSM Howard F. Copeland, biological mother, Vera Copeland and his older sister, Donna K. Copeland.
I am grief stricken and as sad as a brother can be.
Thank you all for loving and being loved by one of the people I loved most. I will miss you Steff!
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