Jean Margaret (Copeland) Wadlin

August 31, 1922 ~ November 6, 2021 (age 99)




Those who knew her experienced great loss Saturday, November 6, 2021, when Jean Wadlin, 99, left us, but with the promise to join us again soon in the clouds when Jesus comes.  Early on August 31, 1922, Jean interrupted her mother’s peach canning schedule when she was born at home to parents, Rolland & Margaret Copeland in Brooks, Oregon.  The family moved to Coos Bay, Oregon, where Jean went to grade school and graduated from Marshfield High School.  Musically gifted, she sang and played the piano and pump organ.  Although she took a few piano lessons, she really played by ear.  She could listen to a song and then play it in its entirety for church services and revivals when her dad preached.  Later she taught herself how to play the vibraharp, which was a small version of the marimba.  Her love of music during the (40’s) and (50’s) often found her at the record store listening to the latest hits in the sound booth and then purchasing more 45’s, 78’s and 33-1/3LP vinyl records to her already vast collection.  Capitol and RCA Records were grateful for her numerous contributions to their success.  She joined Coos Bay’s Community Little Theatre and spent several years as lead actress in many productions as well as helping with costumes and props.  She worked part-time at the local radio station on Sunday mornings reading the Sunday funnies over the air.  She vividly described the scenes and changed her voice for each character. At home she read all the classic books out loud to her children, who thought it normal to have a mother who sounded like Captain Hook, the pirate in Peter Pan.  She dabbled in ceramics and other crafts, however, her outstanding talent for palette knife oil painting was obvious.  Her paintings sold as soon as the paint dried.  Her love of the Oregon coast, nature, flowers and birds were the strong influences for her canvases.  She had no fear, and one day returned home to find the front door wide open.  After giving her small children strict orders to “stay put in the car” with emphasis of the “look” that mothers give, she ran into the house.  Seconds later both kitchen windows opened and out jumped 2 burglars in full running speed before their feet hit the ground.  She never said what she did, but she was a wild game hunter, and she just may have showed the intruders the barrel of her .22 hunting rifle. When her husband died, Jean found herself a single Mom at age 35.  She and her children moved to Salem, Oregon, where she went to work in her brother’s dental office as a dental assistant and office manager.  She fell in love with the dental field and soon worked her way up to President in the Dental Assistant’s organization. Moving forward in her career, with incentive to feed her growing teen-agers, she went to work for a dental chair  company, Den-Tal-Ez, as a manufacturer’s  representative selling contoured dental chairs, calling on dentists in 13  states and Canada. A woman salesman in those days was unheard of, but true to form, she soon became top salesperson in the company.  It was at a dental convention in Chicago that a flamboyant dentist from Tulsa fell madly in love with her and pursued her, even buying all of Den-Tal-Ez’s products so  Jean would have to come to his office to install the equipment.  They married in 1962 and enjoyed 43 years of wedded bliss. During those years, she found herself actively involved in dental and community organizations and became President of Doctors Hospital Auxiliary, Vice President of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Oklahoma State Dental Association, President of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Tulsa County Dental Association and President of the Golden Triangle Garden Club. Her love of the outdoors found her hauling in the crappie and bass by her Lake Keystone home, and also bringing home trophy rainbow and golden trout from Missouri’s cold river waters. When asked about the secret of her success, she would smile, and with a sparkle in her eyes say, “I don’t go fishing, I go catching.” Jean was never without her camera, and for eight decades, filled photo albums with her pictorial memories of family, friends, trips, flowers and sunsets.   She loved going to Branson every year to attend Ireland’s, Daniel O’Donnell’s concerts.  He looked forward to seeing her and always visited with her after his performance.  For her 90th birthday, he came down into the audience, took her hand and they danced in the aisle while he sang Happy Birthday to her.  They were as good as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  For her 95th birthday, Danny did not disappoint her. As he sang to her, the dance was more “senior-easy” and slower than 5 years previously, but once again, Fred and Ginger brought down the house.   Jean was preceded in death by her parents; both husbands, Ellis Vaughan and Dr. Jack Wadlin; son, Sergeant Major Craig Vaughan and daughter-in-law, B.B. Vaughan; siblings, Dr. David Copeland and Mary Carter; and canine companions, Miss Priss (Schnauzer) and that lazybones Siberian Husky, Atika.  She is survived by her daughter, Volinda Vaughan of Cleveland, Oklahoma, sister, Roberta Heard of College Place, Washington, daughter-in-law, Sharon Wadlin O’Meilia of Jenks, Oklahoma, 3 grandsons; Russell, Joshua and Zach Wadlin, nieces and one nephew, a host of good friends especially Pastor Stephen Carlile.  Upon hearing stories of his childhood adventures, Jean laughingly insisted on “adopting” him because he reminded her of her son and his childhood escapades.  Their mutual admiration included close birthdays always celebrated with a grand finale of coconut cream pie and double-crust fresh lemon pie.  Jean was the church birthday card secretary for ten years, mailing thousands of cards to church members, before retiring at age 92.  Due to Covid, there will be no memorial services.  The family will attend graveside services later in Woodburn, Oregon.  Remembering “their” song and their many fishing trips, her marker next to Jack’s will read, “Jack’s Misty.  He fished, but she caught.”  Jean’s son was in Special Forces  30  years, therefore, in lieu of flowers, she would request donations be sent to a Veteran’s organization of your choice.

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