Frank Edward Coupal, 90, passed away quietly on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Sandpoint, Idaho.
A memorial service will be held at 12 p.m. (MST), Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 at the Heron Methodist Church, in Heron, Mont., with Pastor T.J. Parker officiating. He was a loyal and devoted husband, loving father of five children, and an active member of the community always ready with a smile and a helping hand.
Frank was born on Oct. 3, 1927, in Orwell, N.Y., the eldest of three sons of Edward and Gladys Coupal. He spent his childhood in upstate New York, graduating from Eastwood High School in Syracuse in 1945.
He volunteered for the Army Corps of Engineers, serving at an airbase at Nome, Alaska, and as a drafting instructor at Ft. Belvoir, Va. Prior to joining the military, Frank met the love of his life, Joyce Reynolds. They were married in 1951.
Frank got a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering at Montana Tech in 1953, then a master’s degree at the University of Michigan in 1954. After graduation, Frank took a job with Shell Oil Company as a production geologist. Shell would move Frank and Joyce over 10 times in the 29 years he spent with Shell Oil Company. Along the way, they had five children, four boys and one girl.
Frank developed a lifelong passion for rocks. He became a “rockhound,” with a garage full of rock cutting and polishing equipment and taking his family on rock-hunting trips. Rock collecting and polishing remained a hobby throughout his life. He created many beautiful agate pendants and other jewelry.
Frank fell in love with the Montana mountains after passing through by train on his way to Army basic training. In 1971, they bought 120 acres on Blue Creek near Heron, where the family would spend summer vacations. Taking early retirement, Frank and Joyce moved to northwestern Montana in 1983. He bought an additional 30 acres near Noxon, Mont., where they built a cabin and a larger house. Frank continued his rock hobby in Montana, while developing a passion for forest management and weather monitoring.
Frank and Joyce became involved in their local community, volunteering at their church, senior citizens center and community services. They were active in a local square dance group and musical groups. In 1997, they were recognized as senior citizen volunteers of the year by the state of Montana.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers and by his spouse and best friend for over 65 years, Joyce Coupal. He is survived by son Edward Coupal of Auburn, Wash., son Roger Coupal (Christiane Dechert) of Laramie, Wyo, son David (Jo Ann) of Noxon, daughter Carole Thorell (Lenny) of Sandpoint, and son Jim Coupal (Melissa) of Austin, Texas; and 10 very dear grandchildren.
The family expresses our heartfelt thanks for the care at Valley Vista nursing home and Alpine Vista apartments. Memorial donations may be made to Noxon United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 184, Noxon, MT 59853 or to Montana Tech.
Lakeview Funeral Home in Sandpoint is handling the arrangements. Please visit Frank’s online memorial at lakeviewfuneral.com and sign his guest book.