Onita Joyce Copeland

Photo of Onita Joyce Copeland
Onita J. Copeland was born December 21, 1927, in a log cabin in the Fairmount Community near Gentry, Ark., to parents Howard and Elsie (Butler) Chastain. She was married May 5, 1949, to Thurl L. Copeland. Three sons were born of this union: Timothy, born December 1952, Mark, born January 1955, and Frank, born August 1957; grandchildren Addam Copeland and Grant Copeland. Onita's second marriage was to Vance Elder in 2009. Onita taught English at Fayetteville High School for 25 years, as well as one year at Deer, Ark., and one year at Center Point, Okla. She earned a bachelor's degree at Ouachita Baptist College and a master's degree in English at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas serving in a number of different capacities over the years. She is survived by three sons, Tim Copeland, Mark Copeland and wife Lori, Frank Copeland and wife Danita; two grandsons, Addam and wife Stephanie, and Grant; three sisters, Lila, Mazelle, Kay; and one brother, J.D. Chastain. She is preceded by her husbands, Thurl Copeland and Vance Elder, and her parents. Private services will be held at a later date. To sign the online guestbook, please visit

Published May 3, 2022