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Spokane architect Copeland built personal connections

The friendships developed by Gerry Copeland, a longtime Spokane architect who died Sunday, were just as important as the work he did for the clients, one of his business partners recalled.

Copeland, who was 67, developed close friendships with people who came to him for building designs, said Jeff Fountain, the principal architect at Copeland Design & Construction Inc., based in Spokane.

“His relationships with people were much bigger than the projects he took on for people,” said Fountain.

Copeland’s designs, he added, always carried a commitment to simplicity and cleanliness, he added.

His most recent project, for Mike Hale, owner of Hale’s Ales in Seattle, was the design of a new pub in Silverdale, Wash., Fountain said.

He earned two architecture degrees at the University of Washington, traveled in Europe and worked for two years in India with the Peace Corps. Copeland started his architecture career in 1966, first in Seattle, then in Spokane. He opened his Spokane firm in 1984.

Many of the homes he designed won major awards in regional and national competitions.

Fountain said he was eager to join the Copeland firm in 2004, since it was seen as the foremost design-build firm in the area.

Though Copeland never formally retired, he sold off the company to his business partners in 2008, Fountain said.

In 2009 Copeland began treatment after he was diagnosed with melanoma.

The family has said a memorial service will be planned sometime in May.