Franklin Coppersmith

Franklin Coppersmith

Franklin Coppersmith, 93, of What Cheer died Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 at Northern Mahaska Specialty Care in Oskaloosa. A private service will be held at the Holland-Coble Funeral Home in What Cheer. Burial will be in the Garrett Cemetery near Delta.  A memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family

Franklin Coppersmith was born June 15, in Mahaska County, the son of Glenn Coppersmith, and Daisy (Carlisle) Coppersmith. Franklin attended elementary school at the Indianapolis Country School, and graduated from What Cheer High School, in 1943. That same year Frank enlisted in the United States Navy, and was assigned to the SeaBee's — the Naval Construction Battalion which provided engineering and construction to Naval Bases.

After basic training at the Great Lakes Navel Training Academy, Frank shipped out from Oakland Bay, and was deployed in the Pacific Theater (Saipan and Okinawa) during the final months of World War II. Upon returning home from WWII, Frank studied farming, attending extension classes in Oskaloosa, IA. He soon began his farming career and entered into marriage with the love of his life, Genevieve Burdock. Franklin and Genevieve were married Dec. 21, 1946, at the Little Brown Church, in Nashua, Iowa.

During his 35 active years as a farmer, Frank was committed to improving and conserving the land. He was sensitive to crop rotation, terracing, tiling, flood control, natural fertilizers and soil conservation. During these years, in partnership with Genevieve, Franklin built Coppersmith Farms into a thriving family business. For several years he was a sales representative for DeKalb seed corn, and Northrop King soybeans. Always, he enjoyed working the land, owning and operating farm machinery, harvesting the crops, planning for the next year, and talking with friends and neighbors about farming. 

When Frank retired from farming in 1982, he enrolled the farm in the Conservation Reserve Program, and planted it to native prairie grasses. The native grasses were pheasant friendly, which led Frank and Genny to a second career; operating a Bed and Breakfast for pheasant hunters. This business grew and flourished for over 10 years, and in the process, Frank made friends from all over the United States, including Michigan, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Vermont, Ohio, and Illinois.

In 2010 Frank and Genny moved to Oskaloosa, where they were active members of the First Christian Church. Frank also remained active in the What Cheer Lion's club. One of Frank's favorite pastimes was visiting the farm, checking the crops, helping with building and yard maintenance and planning improvement projects. Another of Frank's joys was co-hosting family holidays, parties, and birthday celebrations with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Frank loved to regale family, friends and neighbors with stories about World War ll, farming, family history, local history and more. 

Franklin was an honest, upright, hard-working, dedicated husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends. Franklin is survived by his wife of 74 years, Genevieve Coppersmith of Oskaloosa; two daughters, Glenda Wiese (Carl) of Green Cove Springs, Fl., Gwendolyn Countryman of Iowa City; five granddaughters, Katie Boland (Jesse) of North Liberty, Molly Guerra (Ivan) of Altoona, Libby Darnell (Jeremy) of West Dundee, Ill., Genevieve Giambalvo (Joey) of Austin, Texas, and Audrey Wiese (Grant Eganhouse), Eldridge, and 10 great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Glenn and Daisy Coppersmith, his sister Glenda Doyle, brother-in-law Donald Doyle, mother- and father-in-law Minnie and Richard Burdock, brother-in-law, Harold Burdock, and sister-in-law Verna Schott Burdock.




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