Kurt Hildebrand

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January 6, 2014
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93 just a number to this veteran

Gardnerville resident Al Copley says people assume a lot about him because of his age.

At 93, he has a voice of an announcer and a quick sense of humor as he flirts with the staff at Emeritus, where he moved last month.

Copley, who received a war service medal from the Sons of the American Revolution on Friday for his military service during World War II, describes himself as post-elderly.

“I’m enjoying my platinum years,” he said. “People automatically assume we’re loopy, that we’re not capable. That’s a stereotype. We’re wearing out gradually. Everything’s wearing out, but we’re still here and able to help.”

At 93, Copley is a member of one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people who were 90 in 2011 are expected to live another 4.6 years.

Copley was born Sept. 18, 1920, in Kansas City, and grew up in Buffalo, N.Y.

At age 20, he received a degree from the University of Michigan, and when World War II broke out the next year, he entered the U.S. Army.

Copley served in India as a procurement officer for his first years in the Army in the reverse lend lease program.

The British supplied the Americans with uniforms and other items. When front-line troops needed something, Copley would help supply it.

After coming home from India, Copley joined the faculty of the quartermaster’s school where he spent the rest of the war.

Copley remained in the active reserves after the war, but found himself looking for his next move.

He graduated from Harvard Business School but there weren’t any jobs, and he didn’t have any business experience.

“I decided that if I can’t get a job, I might as well go to work for a company that has a future,” he said.

He picked Barcalo Manufacturing Co., in Buffalo, N.Y., before the advent of the Barcalounger, where he got a job in the factory as a timekeeper.

It wasn’t long before he was climbing the ladder at Barcalo, which later became Barcalounger Co.

He was in the 76th regiment of the 76th Division in Rhode Island before he retired as a major from the U.S. Army Reserve around 1962.

Copley’s next career brought him to Nevada. He went to work for First National Bank of Nevada in Elko in 1968, where he worked in the trust department.

He spent nearly 20 years with the bank before retiring to Topaz Ranch Estates, which he and his wife Clementine intended to use as a base for their motor home. Clementine died in 2011.

“We enjoyed it so much, that we gave the motor home to my son and spent our golden years in Topaz Ranch Estates,” he said.

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The Record Courier Updated Jan 6, 2014 07:56AM Published Jan 6, 2014 07:56AM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.