SYCAMORE — Friends of Dean Copple are remembering him as a good friend and a tireless volunteer.
"It sounds cliche, but Sycamore lost a good friend," said Rose Treml said, executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce. "He really cared."
Copple, 85, of Sycamore, died Saturday at Rockford Memorial Hospital after being involved in a three-vehicle collision on Wednesday at Peace Road and Route 64.
As one of the founding members of the Sycamore Chamber's Ambassador Club, Copple was involved in the business community, economic development and the high school's sports boosters, Treml said.
"He was there whenever I needed help with a fundraiser, the golf outing, whatever," Treml said.
She said he loved working at the starting line of the Pumpkin Fest Pumpkin Run.
"He was always right there in the thick of it," Treml said.
Among the many awards he received, in 2001 Copple was honored with the Clifford Danielson Outstanding Citizen Award from the chamber.
Copple also served as a board member for the Midwest Museum of Natural History. Museum staff member Bethany Gilliam said he put a smile on everyone's face when he arrived.
"He liked to give tours and talk about the history of the museum," Gilliam said. "He was friends with the Schelkopfs and gave tours when the animals were displayed at their farm, before the museum existed."
Brad Copple, president of Kishwaukee and Valley West hospitals and the elder of Dean Copple's two sons, described his father as a servant.
"That's one of the first words that comes to mind about him," Brad Copple said. "He enjoyed helping others, doing for others, volunteering and he could always be counted on."
Brad Copple laughed thinking of all the loaves of banana bread his father baked, along with the pounds of fudge and peanut brittle and the raisin cream pies.
"People came to expect his peanut brittle around the holidays," Brad Copple said. "And if they didn't get it, they weren't shy about asking."
Although he said he and his brother, Mark, challenged their parents during their teen years, Brad Copple said they always felt their parents' unconditional love.
"He was always proud of us – playing sports, getting college educations, the ladies that we both married and his [five] grandchildren," Brad Copple said.
Mark Copple called his father an amazing guy.
"They just don't make them like him anymore," Mark Copple said. "He loved the Lord, he loved his family deeply, and he loved his community."
Dean Copple's visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Butala Funeral Home and Crematory in Sycamore. Funeral services will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Evangelical Free Church of Sycamore-DeKalb with the Rev. Martin Jones officiating. Burial will be at Elmwood Cemetery in Sycamore.