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COPITHORN, Dorothy Mae (nee Spencer)

February 2, 1919 – Swift Current, Saskatchewan
November 12, 2013 – Calgary, Alberta

Dorothy Copithorn (nee Spencer) passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at the age of 94 years.

The eldest daughter of Edward and Gladys Spencer, Dorothy was born, grew up, and was educated in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The daughter of a prominent musician, Dorothy’s education included music and piano studies, and she was recognized as a talented pianist from an early age. Dorothy achieved her ATCM, began teaching piano, and working as an organist and choir leader while still in her teens. She was also well known for her skills as an accompanist. In her early twenties, Dorothy became known as ‘the travelling music teacher’ as she went out each Monday along the Empress line teaching piano in many small communities including Pennant, Battram, Cabri, and Abbey, often returning to Swift Current at the end of each week in the caboose of a freight train.

In 1946, Dorothy went to Abernethy, Saskatchewan where she worked as the church organist, taught piano students, and school music classes. During that year, she met a handsome young businessman, J. Wesley Copithorn, and the two were married in December 1947. Dorothy and Wes soon had three children, Hope, Robert and Marjorie, and their family was complete. Dorothy’s love of music was surpassed only by the love and joy she experienced through her family life. The family relocated to Indian Head in 1959, and once again, Dorothy was busy as an organist, choir director and piano teacher. In 1975, Dorothy and Wes moved to Taber, Alberta where they made many new friends and Dorothy was again busy in all aspects of her musical career.

Following her retirement, Dorothy remained in Taber for ten years before moving to Calgary to be nearer to her family. Even in her retirement community, Dorothy used her gift of music to brighten the lives of those around her. She led a women’s choir for a number of years, and often played the organ or piano for the pleasure of the community members. Even as a resident in long term care, Dorothy continued to play for Sunday worship until a short time before her passing.

Dorothy will be greatly missed by her family, friends and community members for her kindness and her sunny personality.

Left to cherish her memory is her daughter Hope Fennell; her son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Nora Copithorn; her daughter and son-in-law, Marjorie Copithorn and Martin Schwartz; her cherished grandchildren, Jason Fennell, Alexis Copithorn (James Espinoza) and Eastlyn Copithorn (Spencer Laurin); and her brother Ken Bell. Dorothy will be fondly remembered by her nieces, nephews and cousins in Canada and England and by many friends and former students across Canada.

Dorothy was predeceased by her parents; her husband of forty years Wesley; her sister Marjorie Baldwin; and her son-in-law Terry Fennell.

A Celebration of Dorothy’s Life will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S, Chapel of the Bells (2720 Centre Street North) on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, memorial tributes in Dorothy’s honour may be made directly to the charity of the donor’s choice.

In living memory of Dorothy Copithorn, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH, Telephone: 403-276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Don and Marion Hamilton :

    Hope, Bob and Marjorie and families,
    We have many fond memories of your Mom from our friendship with her during her years in Taber. Don was a member of the choir – his antics with Bruce Milliken’s help and support, makes one wonder how your Mom continued in her role as organist and choir director for all those years. Your Mom was also our daughter Sharon’s piano teacher and they shared good times together.
    May happy times and memories of you Mom remain with you in the days ahead.
    Sincerely, Don and Marion

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  2. Dear Copithorn Family,

    Dorothy leaves such a legacy of both music and relationships. I was her piano student and we developed a friendship that spanned years after. She had an influence on many, and was a gem. Sincere condolences, Rosanne Glass

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  3. Neil Crookshanks :

    Bob, Hope, Marjorie and families:

    We send our deepest condolences to you all at this time. I have many great memories of your mother when we were next door neighbours in Indian Head. Thoughts are with you all at this difficult time.

    Neil Crookshanks and LeeAnn Forsythe

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