Ross W. Copeland Jr.

Copeland, Ross W. Jr.

(1917 – 2002)

Born on July 17, 1917 in Seattle, Ross W. Copeland Jr. w attended the University of Washington from 1935 to 1938 but did not receive formal degree. Instead he gained valuable, on-the-job practical experience by working in the office of Harry Nordquist (1938-1939). With WWII looming, he then took a job as a draftsman in the Todd-Pacific Shipyards in Tacoma (1940-1945). After the war, Copeland worked for a variety of firms, including George Stoddard & Associates (1945-1946); Bain, Overturf & Turner; and Young & Richardson. During this time he received his formal architectural license (No. TL-331) on January 10, 1946.

The next year he formed a partnership with fellow architect Marvin Patterson. The firm Copeland & Patterson received a healthy amount of press in the Seattle Times and the Pacific Northwest Book of Homes for several smartly designed starter homes, however, the partnership was short-lived, and by 1949, Copeland was out on his own. Then in 1954, he joined the firm of William R. Grant & Son. After the death of William Grant, his son, Austin, formed a new partnership with his classmates Robert Chervenak and Ross Copeland. Together, the firm of Grant, Copeland & Chervenak made a significant impact on the built environment in the Seattle area.

The firm specialized in religious structures and designed several award-winning projects, including St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (1962) in Seattle, a 1963 Seattle Chapter AIA Honor Award winner; and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (1968) in Everett, also an Honor Award winner. Other churches include Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (1969) in Olympia; Pilgrim Lutheran Church (1968) and Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bellevue; and St. Paul’s of Shorewood Lutheran Church (1956) in Seattle.

In 1966, the firm received a National AIA Merit Award for their design of the Hugo Winkenwerder Forest Science Laboratory at the University of Washington. The heavy timber, multi-story building was a celebration of wood construction. Other works by the firm include the Myron Carroll House in Seattle; Oroville State Bank in Oroville; an elementary school (1957) and post office in Tonasket; Dag’s Drive-In (c. 1956); Manson High School; and the King County Medical Service Corporation Building (1964 – Seattle AIA Award Winner) all in Seattle. The 1972 Psychology Building at Central Washington University in Ellensburg is a notable later project by the firm.

Copeland passed away in Issaquah at the age of 82 on February 8, 2002.

– Michael C Houser

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