The Smiths Station community is in mourning following the passing of Mr. F. L. “Bubba” Copeland, Jr., on Friday, November 3, 2023. Mayor Copeland, who also served as a pastor at the First Baptist Church in Phenix City, was 49 years old.
Family and friends will come together to honor Mr. Copeland’s memory on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Vance Brooks Funeral Home in Phenix City, AL. A funeral service is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 9, at First Baptist Church in Phenix City, with Dr. Ralph Wooten presiding. The service will be followed by a private burial.
As a married father of three and a prominent figure in his community, Mayor Copeland’s death has not only caused a ripple of grief but also a wave of controversy. He became the center of a heated debate when the conservative blog, 1819 News, published an article outing him as dressing in drag in his home, a private aspect of his life that he had not publicly disclosed.
The exposé, which included screenshots from Copeland’s personal social media accounts, has led to intense backlash against 1819 News, with accusations that the blog’s actions pushed Copeland to his limit. The controversy has sparked widespread condemnation across various social media platforms, with community members and activists calling for respect of privacy and condemning the invasive nature of the report.
Mayor Copeland’s death has opened up conversations about the pressures faced by public figures, the responsibilities of the press, and the rights of individuals to privacy. The community has shown an outpouring of support for the Copeland family during this challenging time, reflecting on his contributions to the city and his service both in office and in faith.
As the town prepares to say its final goodbyes to a man who wore many hats, the discourse surrounding his death is likely to continue.
In memory of F. L. “Bubba” Copeland, Jr., flags in Smiths Station will be flown at half-mast. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the First Baptist Church’s charity wing in his honor.