Passing of Retired Chief of Border Patrol
Photo below taken in December 2010 for Mr. Coppock's 100th birthday celebration
Retired Chief of the Border Patrol Donald R. Coppock passed away
Thursday afternoon September 1, 2011 at his home in Cherokee, OK. He was born December 8, 1910 at Cherokee, OK.
In 1957, after assignments in Chula Vista, and El Centro, California he was transferred to Washington, D.C. as Assistant Chief of the Border Patrol. In 1960, he was promoted to Chief of the Border Patrol and held that position until retiring on June 30, 1973.
During his career as the Border Patrol chief, the Border Patrol was regularly called upon to enforce civil rights statutes during the 1960s. He was involved in enforcement of the civil rights strife at Old Miss when the first African-American, James Meredith, was enrolled at the university; the bombing of the Baptist church in Birmingham, Ala., where four young girls were killed; the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; the Poor People’s March on Washington, D.C.; the Selma to Montgomery march; the negotiations that brought about the return of prisoners after the Bay of Pigs war in Cuba; and other enforcements.
After his retirement as the Border Patrol chief, Mr. Coppock was engaged as the chief administration officer and the public information officer for the U.S. House of Representatives Inquiry Committee for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. Later, he was administration officer for the Legal Services Corporation in Washington, D.C.
In 1968, Mr. Coppock received the Department of Justice Distinguished Service Award for his accomplishments.
Mr. Coppock was a founding member of FORBPO and instrumental in establishing The U.S. Border Patrol Museum and Library Foundation in 1980 and an avid supporter of the Museum since its inception and was the longest serving Chairman of the National Board of Trustees at the time of his retirement from the Board.
He was granted "Trustee Emeritus" status of the National B.P. Museum in 2008.
At the age of 95 Mr. Coppock took up his pen and became the author of his book, "The Journey" depicting his years in the Border Patrol as seen through his eyes.
When speaking of the Border Patrol, one must include Donald R. Coppock. He was the epitome of what the Border Patrol stands for....Courage, Honor and Dedication. Mr. Coppock proudly displayed his love of God, Country and the Patrol. He will be sorely missed by family, friends and of course the Patrol.