Kenneth W. Cope
December 24, 1956 – October 3, 2022
VISITATION begins Tuesday, October 11th, 2pm at the West Center Chapel with FUNERAL SERVICE at 3pm.
To view a live broadcast of the Funeral Service, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.
“Donations in memory of our father can be made to the International Myeloma Foundation”.
Kenneth Wayne Cope, 65, of Omaha, NE, passed away on October 3rd surrounded by his loving family. Ken was born on December 24, 1956 to Dale and Irene Cope in Danville, Illinois. Ken was preceded in death by his father, Donald D. Cope. Ken is survived by his wife of 40 years, Laurie; sons Kristopher (Alexandra) and Adam (Christy); daughters Jenna (Dan), Caroline, Katya and Holly; mother Elizabeth; sister Janice Phillips (Jim); brother Matt; and 8 grandchildren.
Upon graduating high school, Ken joined the United States Air Force and served as an Electronic Warfare Systems Specialist for 6 years. Ken met his wife Laurie in 1979 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Bay, Florida. They were married on June 11, 1982 and went on to raise 6 extraordinarily talented and opinionated children.
Narrowing down the list of Ken’s attributes for this obituary was no small task. No one loved Ken more than his wife and kids, so in his words “buckle up” as they share their memories with you:
We didn’t know “weather tech” was a thing that someone could be as passionate about as Dad was. Currently, there are five thermostats in the house; not the kind you control an HVAC system with, but the kind that tells you the weather outside, inside, and on Mars. Like any father, he would say “Don’t touch the thermostat!” to which we’d reply, “WHICH ONE?!” Trying to secretly adjust any thermostat when Dad was around was like trying to outrun a lion. It was not going to happen. You were going to get caught and devoured alive.
Dad did not rule from an iron throne, but from his giant recliner where he bestowed much wisdom upon his wild children. No one feared a beheading in the literal sense, but heads rolled when he dispensed whiplash insight into whatever sibling traumas his children came bellyaching to him about. From his recliner, many memories were made watching shows and movies together. Our dad had a way of making old movies meaningful; only he could make “The Dirty Dozen,” (a movie about convicted felons in the military) a cherished memory. Perhaps he felt like he was running an ROTC camp with his own dirty half dozen.
If Dad was not at his desk or in his recliner, he could be found smoking one of his several hundred cigars on the back deck, while enjoying the sun and fresh air. He believed in having all the comforts regardless of time of year – a canopy during the hot summer and a fire pit during the cold winter. However, Dad never understood why Mom would not allow him to light the fire pit with the canopy up at the same time. Thanks to Dad, memories were made on the deck all year round, and thanks to Mom, nothing burned down.
Our Dad loved to read. Did you know that you can access the library via a smartphone app and borrow books that are sent right to your kindle? Our Dad knew that. We count Jeff Bezos as a close family friend. We’ve never met Jeff, but he invented the Kindle and single handedly prevented our Dad from destroying any more national forests with his book buying. This summer, we cleaned out Dad’s storage unit. We have boxes of books that, when all stacked together, take up enough space for a Buick. We know this because Mom’s Buick is in the driveway, while the books are in the garage. That was our Dad. He loved to read.
Dad loved to spend hours with his family playing board games. We never knew which Dad enjoyed more, playing the games or witnessing the Stooge hilarity that ensued. During moments like these, Dad took much delight in assessing the thickness of his children’s hides as they went at one another’s throats like a pride of lions going after a mamed wildebeest. Dad often lost at word games. You’d have to see his laugh to understand why. He could hardly get his words out around his own guffawing. It was a masterpiece of tears streaming down his face, gasping for words and silent verberations of his entire being. For this reason Mom always lost at Taboo if she and Dad were partners. However, Dad was the king of Yahtzee and although his children were a competitive pack of hyenas, they all knew they were destined to lose to Dad if dice was involved.
We took many road trips together throughout the years, often the journey was more memorable than the destination. We always got underway 2 hours after the set departure time with Dad playing Tetris with the family’s luggage. We were now 4 hours past our set departure time with an arsenal of navigation; Mom wrestling like a WWE champion with a 20 year old atlas and the beloved GPS named Merka (Dad’s second love). With Herbie fully loaded, memories were made as the Copes crossed the Mississippi River 3 times in a matter of minutes, nearly running out of gas in attempts to find Dad’s beloved Love’s gas station and all of us cupping our ears as Mom, Dad, and Merka had words.
To quote one of Dad’s idols Ronald Reagan “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” Dad had a very strict gun control policy: if there was a gun around, he wanted to be in control of it. While some little girls attend father daughter dances, you could find our Dad with his girls at the gun range. Teaching them the virtues of not having a “limp wrist,” how to cock back the hammer of an H&K and keeping your face out of the recoil line. Dad was a man of principle. His hardline principles, though not carved in stone like the ancient Greeks, maintain a place of equal permanency in our hearts. Dad had a pure love for his country. His unwavering commitment to our flag and the freedoms it stands for never ended, even after his military service. He upheld true patriotism – an ideal that traveled well beyond fireworks in July. Dad was a dedicated Airman, bold in his military service, yet quiet and humble about his status as a veteran.
The only thing that rivaled Dad’s love of country, was his love for God and family. Though not the best at time management (see travel story above), he would stand at the front door of the house each Sunday before church and begin the Sabbath morning with two words proclaiming Godspeed… “LET’S GO! LET’S GO! LET’S GO!” The Lord blessed Dad with steadfastness and resolve. Dad’s unwavering faith guided him through the hardships of life and the persistent pandemonium of his children. In every season, Dad always radiated joy and laughter, and gave praise to the Lord.