It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of beloved husband, father, and friend to all who knew him, George F. Coppola, who passed peacefully in his sleep on April 15th. George was born in Carlstadt, NJ on July 18, 1938 to George and Rose Coppola. He had two brothers, Anthony who pre-deceased him, and twin brother, Angelo. George was a long-time resident of Whippany, NJ where he is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 61 years, Phyllis, his two daughters, his two grandsons’, and several nieces and nephews. George had a successful career as a Pharmaceutical Director until his retirement, whose tireless work didn’t end there. Among many accolades, George is a Vietnam Veteran, a member of the Knights of Columbus where he served as Grand Knight, and a Hanover Township Committeeman where he served several terms. George’s list of civic duty and community involvement is extensive, all now part of his legacy. He lived a life of service, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
There is a poem by Linda Ellis that comes to mind when we remember George called The Dash. It reads as follows:
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted first the date of birth, and spoke to the following date with tears.
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between the years.
For the dash represents all of the time that they spent their life on Earth.
And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.
What matters is how we live and love, and how we spend our dash.
When reflecting on this poem as it relates to George’s life, it would be difficult to capture the full impact of the line between the year of his birth and the year he left this earth.
It would be difficult to capture all of the lives that were touched by that little line through his love of life, his strength of character, his giving nature and his generosity.
It would be difficult for that little line to capture all of the time dedicated to his family, to his friends, to his Brother Knights, to his place of worship, and to his community with selfless acts of service that are too exhaustive to list.
George was a gentle man, and a gentleman, who moved through this life with dignity, with grace, with humor, with an incredible sense of style, a strong faith in God and humankind, and a positive attitude that he carried with him all the days of his life, even as the end drew near and he faced his greatest challenge. The fight to hold on. The strength to let go.
While facing his mortality, George shared that he was privileged to have lived such a long life, such a full life, a life that made a difference to so many, with so many friends made along the way, whose sentiments are already pouring in to honor this great man and a life lived.
While he shared in these final months that he was not afraid of death, his strong faith carrying him forward, and that he knew that his family in heaven had the table set for him, it was also difficult to leave his family here, especially his loving and devoted wife of 61years, Phyllis. The girl that he fell in love with the moment he met her, and the start of what would become a journey of a lifetime for them, with all of the lives they would touch, all of the many roads they would travel together. His Special Angel as he called her, who stood by him through the thick and the thin of it, with endless dedication that endured during these last very difficult months.
The dash between the years is more than just a line. It represents a life lived, and George lived an incredibly big life. He shared expressions of positivity that impacted those around him. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. The glass was always half full and never half empty. And the bend in the road only meant the end of the road, if you were unwilling to make the turn.
This sweet and gentle man is not at the end of the road. The pain of that loss is what those of us left behind now need to reconcile.
George is really just at the beginning of the road, with God calling him home to take his place at his family’s table in heaven.
May God rest George’s sweet and gentle soul as we honor him at this time, and the incredible meaning of that little line, the dash, a life fully lived……
A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. Please join us at Bradley-Braviak Funeral Home, 49 Whippany Road. Whippany. NJ on Wednesday, 4/19, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Thursday, 4/20, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. with a funeral service beginning at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Knights of Columbus, Council #6904, PO Box 37, Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927.