Leota Hunter Copstead: Retired school nurse, former Edmonds resident

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Leota Hunter Copstead

May 10, 1919 – March 28, 2018

Leota “Odey” Ruth Hunter Copstead was born May 10, 1919, in Bend, OR, to Fannie Gail and Charles Dan Hunter. She grew up in Arlington, WA, and moved to Forks in 1932. He returned the family to Arlington three years later for a change of culture for his teenage daughter.

Leota graduated from Arlington High School in 1937. She enrolled in Western Washington College and transferred after one year to Seattle University School of Nursing at Columbus Hospital, where she graduated as valedictorian in 1941 as one of the first female graduates of Seattle U.

Leota met Thor Copstead from Ketchikan, Alaska, while student nursing. After her graduation from Seattle University, they were married in 1941 and enjoyed 58 years of loving life together.

Leota raised two children, Leotagail (b. 1944) and Rick (b. 1949). She lovingly supported Thor in Elks and Shrine, served on PTA, taught Sunday school and managed a busy home. The Copsteads built a house in 1956 in Edmonds where she returned to nursing in a private doctor’s office. Leota later added training in public health nursing at the University of Washington and began a career as a school nurse in Monroe and Mukilteo School Districts. She retired to play golf and travel in 1983. In 1988 she and Thor finished remodeling their beach house and moved to Whidbey Island, where she became involved in life in Coupeville and Oak Harbor. She was active at Oak Harbor Lutheran Church, P.E.O. in Coupeville, and the Whidbey Golf and Country Club.

At the Copstead beach home, “Nana” loved to entertain, hosting many friends and busy bunches of grandchildren who grew up playing on her beach. Nana taught them to make s’mores over beach fires, to fly kites, find treasures, dig clams, pull slivers, apply band-aids, build camps, and rejoice in childhood. She never tired of feeding and peacemaking a large, hungry family. She described her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as a tremendous blessing.

Leota was a devoted mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Her son Richard Copstead preceded her in death (1988), as did her husband Thor (1999). Leota is survived by her brother, Dan Hunter (Irene), daughter Leotagail (Gordon Kramer), and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Copstead, seven grandchildren (Jennifer, Dana, Ben, Greg, Chris, Anton & Erik) and fifteen great-grandchildren.

Services will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2:00 PM at Luther Memorial Church, 13049 Greenwood Ave North, Seattle WA.

Memorial gifts may be made to Oak Harbor Lutheran Church, (1253 NW 2nd Ave, Oak Harbor, WA, 98277) or to a charity of your choice.

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