The Reverend W. Eugene Copenhaver
September 20, 1938 – August 16, 2020
I confess, the first time I saw the photo of The Reverend W. Eugene Copenhaver “Rev”, Pastor Emeritus during the call process I thought “crud.” Or words to that effect. He appeared stern and unsmiling.
Thankfully nothing could have been further than the truth. It is no wonder there is such grief over his death, because he loved, and loved deeply. In the relatively brief time Renee and I got to know Gene & his wife Marty their warmth, welcome and graciousness to us and the congregation was apparent.
Pastor Gene, or “Rev” to a generation of Lutheran Campus Ministry students, parents and friends, served University Lutheran Church and Lutheran Campus Ministry (Center) from January 1, 1969 through June 1982. These were pivotal years in our nation’s history, and a pivotal time for UniLu. One long time member recalls that the congregation was fading, but Rev and his wife Marty brought new life to the congregation and campus ministry.
Several current members of University Lutheran were students during Rev’s Campus Ministry days. Others in the congregation formed decades long friendships and stayed in contact, even got to be joyfully reunited upon Marty and Gene’s return to UniLu where he was honored with the title of “Pastor Emeritus” in 2013. Neither he, nor Pastor Chris or I ever figured out what that title meant officially, but unofficially it meant “encourager, bringer of joy and laughter, gentle dispenser of wisdom.”
If you’d like to send a note or a card to Marty, her address is: Marty Copenhaver, 4312 Lee Highway, Marion, Virginia 24354. You can read Pastor Gene’s obituary here:
Rev, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
God’s peace, hope & love,