COPELAND, Barbara Dayton Barbara Copeland of Hamilton died on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at home. She was weeks shy of her 93rd birthday. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, on September 29, 1927, she was the daughter of Revere Elliot and Josephine (Lucker) Clapp. Barbara married William J. (Bill) Copeland on July 31, 1976, and he predeceased her on July 8, 2011. She was previously married to Neil A. Dayton Jr., who predeceased her in August 1975. Barbara graduated from Robert E. Fitch High School in Groton, Connecticut, in 1945 and from the University of Connecticut in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, having majored in Marketing. She began a career in retail on the Executive Training Program of G. Fox & Co. of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1949, attaining the position of Assistant Buyer of Coats & Suits. In 1955, Barbara attended Willimantic State Teacher's College in the Intensive Program for College Graduates to prepare her for a teaching career, advancing to earn a Master of Science Degree in Education Administration at Miami University of Ohio in 1963. Her career in education began with teaching kindergarten and grades 5 and 6 in Connecticut. After moving to Hamilton, Ohio, in 1956, she taught at Jefferson, Taylor, Hayes, and Fillmore Elementary Schools. Barbara became assistant principal at Harrison School in 1968, and finally principal at Fillmore School in 1970 before retiring in 1985. Barbara had a distinguished career and a full, vibrant life. She was a woman who worked hard, made her own way, deeply valued her family, gave back to her community, and was not afraid to speak her mind. Barbara was also competitive, always striving for, encouraging, and celebrating excellence. Her work as a servant to her community in Hamilton, Ohio, included: membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, a national honorary education society; Secretary of the Children's Home Association (1969-1975); membership on the HATI "I Care" Committee (1969-1994); membership on the Salvation Army Advisory Board (1970-1985); one of the few female principals in the Hamilton School District; treasurer of the Friends of the Lane Public Library (1972-1974); first female member of the Butler County Sportsman's Club; treasurer of the Hamilton Tennis Association (1972-1982); named Woman of the Community by Hamilton-Fairfield Jayceettes (1975); membership on the Board of Trustees of the Boys Club of Hamilton (1980-1990); membership on the Hamilton Hospice Advisory Board (1985-1988); membership on the Hamilton Zoning Board of Appeals (1985-2004); Deacon of the Westwood Presbyterian Church. Barbara was a remarkable woman with a sly sense of humor. Her sharp wit was matched by a sharp sense of fashion, Barbara made a statement everywhere she went, with a particular penchant for gold, animal prints, Chinese red, and black. Barbara herself was a born hostess, planning memorable parties for Bill's clients and business associates at Beckett Paper. She was gifted in the fiber arts, both making clothes to satisfy her striking fashion tastes and creating needlepoints of ambitious intricacy to be donated to the Hamilton Boy's and Girl's Club's annual auction. She was an enthusiastic traveler, touring the United States through Bill's business trips, taking annual trips to Bermuda, and venturing as far as Australia and Turkey. The arrival of grandchildren after she retired gave her renewed purpose. She reveled in attending her grandchildren's school events, graduations, concerts, and weddings. Fiercely proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she would share their achievements big and small with everyone she knew. Above all, Barbara was gracious. She was a prolific writer of thank-you notes, penned with calligraphic elegance, a courtesy and habit of gratitude that was not limited to letters but informed every interaction of service. Even in her final days, she mustered the strength to thank her caretakers after each exchange. A woman with a lifelong legacy of independence, Barbara raised two sons as a single, working mother and lived on her own for most of the final decade of her life. She will be sorely missed by the many people whose lives she brightened with her smile, a witty comment, or a gin & tonic. Barbara is survived by her younger son, Peter Neil Dayton II, and his wife Lisa Maier Dayton of Terrace Park, and their three children, Lauren Frisch Dayton, Peter Neil Dayton III, Holly Elizabeth Dayton; Jennifer Copeland Schwelik and husband Frank Joseph Schwelik III of Lakewood, Ohio, their son Frank Joseph Schwelik IV, wife Carrie Mabry Schwelik, daughter Brooklie Rose Schwelik, sons Frank Joseph Schwelik V and Dillon Jacob Schwelik; Heather Copeland Turner of Dallas, Texas, her daughter, Margaret Turner Holley, husband Adam, and their son Daniel Turner Holley, and Heather's son William Robinson Turner IV; William John Copeland and his wife Tina Louise Copeland of Richmond, Virginia, their children William James Copeland, Daniel John Copeland, and Gregory Reid Copeland. Barbara's eldest son, Neil A. Dayton II, died June 13, 2015, and is survived by his wife Gretchen Maxwell of Jacksonville, Texas, their son Neil Avon Dayton IV, and daughters Laura Philmon, Maeve Philmon, and Dayna Philmon. A gathering to celebrate Barbara's life will be held in September 2021. Please contact Peter Dayton II at to be kept informed of developing plans for this gathering. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Barbara Dayton & William J. Copeland Fund of the Hamilton Community Foundation, 319 N. Third St., Hamilton, OH 45013. The family would like to thank Dr. Kenneth L. Wehr for years of dedicated care of Barbara. A special thanks to the incredible staff at the Seasons Retirement Community, especially Rachel Hamm. Online condolences are available at

Funeral Home Information

Weigel Funeral Home

980 NW Washington Blvd.

Hamilton, OH